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ACC Game Stories, Nov. 23

Sunday, November 24, 2013 3:22pm
Check below for game stories from all the ACC action this weekend. It's listed in alphabetical order, by winning ACC team. Stories from the losing team's perspective then follow. 

Boston College beats Maryland 29-26 on final play 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Andre Williams had already done his part, rushing for 263 yards to become the 16th player in NCAA history to top 2,000 in a single season.

Now it was up to Boston College senior kicker Nate Freese to deliver a victory over Maryland. With the score tied and two seconds left in the fourth quarter, Freese was called upon to kick a 52-yard field goal.

He missed - for the first time all year. But Maryland coach Randy Edsall requested a timeout an instant before the kick.

"I knew either the ref blew a whistle or they called timeout or something happened," Freese said. "Going into that re-kick, I was a lot more confident."

The second try went right through the uprights as time expired to provide the Eagles with a 29-26 win. As soon as the officials raised their arms, the Boston College players stormed the field to celebrate their fourth straight win.

Turns out, the timeout designed to freeze Freese actually warmed him up to the task.

"I was just calm, trying to get a little better judgment of the wind," the kicker said. "It was kind of going from my right to left. Being out there a little longer, I got a little better feel for it."

Boston College coach Steve Addazio said, "I didn't know what to think on the first one. But when I saw that they called a timeout and he missed, I said to myself, 'He's going to get this one now.' He's a real confident guy."

Williams now has 2,073 yards on the ground this year. His second touchdown got the Eagles (7-4, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) to 24-20 with 10:33 left, and his 36-yard run in the closing seconds set up Freese's game winner.

"Let's let our best players go win it in the end, that's our strength," Addazio said. "Nate Freese is one of our strengths, and one of our strengths stood up as a senior and won it in the end."

Edsall, meanwhile, could only shrug his shoulders over the ill-timed timeout.

"Obviously, I shouldn't have taken the timeout. He missed it," Edsall said. "But it's just one of those things that you feel you're doing something to put a little more doubt in the guy's head. I made a decision, it just didn't work out."

It was the final ACC home game for the Terrapins (6-5, 2-5), who shift to the Big Ten in 2014. Maryland wraps up its ACC schedule next week at North Carolina State.

The Eagles trailed 24-13 before Williams ran 72 yards for a touchdown, a jaunt that moved him over the 2,000-mark. Maryland appeared poised for the clinching score when running back Jacquille Veii lost a fumble at the Boston College 7. Chase Rettig then threw to a wide open Alex Amidon for a 74-yard score to make it 26-24.

But the conversion was blocked, and Maryland's Anthony Nixon took it the distance the other way to tie it with 5:02 left.

That set the stage for the wild ending.

Williams limped off the field several times, the last time after his 36-yarder in the closing seconds. He finished with 32 carries and some very sore muscles.

"I know he's pretty banged up," Addazio said. "He took a lot of shots in there like he does each week, and they're cumulative. I got a feeling that we're going to have a pretty beat-up guy here come (Sunday)."

Maryland opened the second half with a 70-yard drive capped by a 33-yard touchdown pass from C. J. Brown to Amba Etta-Tawo for a 17-10 lead. The score came two plays after the Terrapins successfully gambled on a fourth-and-1 at the BC 34.

The Eagles closed to 17-13 late in the third quarter when Freese kicked a 19-yard field goal to end a march that lasted nearly seven minutes. The kick came after Boston College failed to get into the end zone on three runs - two by Williams, one by Rettig - from inside the Maryland 3.

The Terrapins went up by 11 on a 3-yard run by Brown with 10:52 to go, a score set up by Bryce Jones fumbling a punt at the BC 33.

Rettig was 1 for 7 for 1 yard and an interception before halftime, but Williams rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown to help Boston College forge a tie.

After Williams had runs of 31 and 30 yards on the opening drive to set up a field goal, Maryland pulled even on its second possession.

Late in the first quarter, Rettig was in shotgun formation when a low snap skipped past him. The quarterback chased down the ball and fumbled upon being tackled by Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield, who recovered at the BC 1. That set up a touchdown run by Albert Reid for a 10-3 lead.

The Eagles tied it when Williams scored on a 6-yard run after Manuel Aspirilla blocked a punt inside the Maryland 10.

NO. 7 CLEMSON'S SPEED TOO MUCH FOR THE CITADEL 

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Citadel coach Kevin Higgins warned all week the biggest difference between his Bulldogs and No. 7 Clemson was the Tigers' speed.

It didn't take Clemson (10-1) long to prove him right. After failing to score on their first drive, the Tigers scored on a five-play, 61-yard drive early in the first quarter. Four were passes where Clemson sprinted pass the slower linebackers and defensive backs for The Citadel (5-7).

"We try to simulate that speed with the scout team. Unfortunately, we have guys that run 4.8 and they have guys that run 4.4," Higgins said. "Then when you think you have it covered outside, they hit you up the middle because they have so much talent."

Clemson's Tajh Boyd would throw for 288 yards and five touchdowns, all in the first half, as the Bulldogs were down 42-0 at the break.

"We came out very slow and you can't come out slow against a team like this or you get run off the field," Citadel quarterback Ben Dupree said.

There were bright spots for the Bulldogs. They put together their longest drive of the year - 21 plays - and took off 12:10 of the fourth quarter. But it ended in a 29-yard field goal.

Dupree ran 23 times for 69 yards, topping the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Fullback Darien Robinson ran 17 times for 45 yards. The triple option Bulldogs completed just one pass on five tries, and it lost four yards.

But The Citadel was simply the invited guests as Clemson celebrated a senior class Saturday that brought the program back as a national contender. Boyd had touchdown passes of 8, 9, 19, 24 and 30 yards. He ended the game with 102 passing TDs in his career and tied the Tigers record of five passing TDs in a game for the sixth time. Three times Boyd has thrown for five scores in the first half.

"He's something special. Everything he's gotten he deserves," said offensive coordinator Chad Morris, the architect of an attack that is averaging 515 yards a game and is on pace to break last year's record of 512 yards.

Everyone expected a celebration Saturday. Clemson came into the game 27-0 against FCS opponents. The fans cheered every senior who ran down the hill, but the biggest ovation was for Boyd, who owns more than 50 school records as part of coach Dabo Swinney's first recruiting class dubbed the "Dandy Dozen"

"It wasn't a very heralded class. But I loved every one of them," said Swinney, who won his 50th game of a career that started as interim coach when Tommy Bowden was fired in October 2008.

Sammy Watkins caught seven passes for 58 yards and a TD. It might be the last game in Clemson for the junior, who is considered the best receiver prospect in next year's NFL draft. Watkins also became Clemson's all-time leading receiver, passing DeAndre Hopkins' mark of 3,020 yards set last season.

Watkins said the coaches also offered him a solo run down the hill with the seniors. But he refused, saying it wasn't his time.

"I didn't want to have that standing ovation. I haven't made my decision yet. At the end of the season we'll see," Watkins said.

And on Military Appreciation Day, the Tigers also finally got a touchdown for Daniel Rodriguez, who caught a quick flip as he ran past in motion from backup quarterback Cole Stoudt on fourth-and-goal early in the fourth quarter for the 4-yard score. The 25-year-old junior came to Clemson as a walk on after serving for the Army in Afghanistan. He received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device. The Tigers tried to get him a TD in garbage time in their 56-7 win over Wake Forest, but couldn't pull it off.

"We had to get him in there. Daniel Rodriguez - no better way to get a touchdown than Military Appreciation Day," Boyd said. "We all want to be in the movie when they make one about him."

The Clemson crowd cheered almost as loud for Rodriguez as it did for Boyd.

"I never expected to be there," Rodriguez said of the end zone. "And when I got there, I never thought I would get there so I just had so much excitement going through me."


Boone, No. 25 Duke beat Wake Forest, 28-21

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Anthony Boone threw three touchdown passes and No. 25 Duke held on to beat Wake Forest 28-21 on Saturday for its seventh straight win.

Brandon Connette rushed 3 yards for the go-ahead score late in the third quarter and Boone was 24 of 29 for 256 yards. The Blue Devils (9-2, 5-2 ACC) fell behind 14-0 before rallying to match the school record for victories and remain in control of the Coastal Division.

Boone threw touchdown passes covering 58 and 10 yards to Jamison Crowder and 4 yards to Max McCaffrey.

Thomas Brown returned a fumble 59 yards for a touchdown for Wake Forest (4-7, 2-6).

Tanner Price was 12 of 27 for 124 yards in his final home game with a 6-yard touchdown to Spencer Bishop and an 11-yard touchdown run. But he was intercepted by Ross Cockrell with 2:30 left.

The Demon Deacons clinched their fifth straight losing season and are out of the bowl picture for the fourth time in five years.

Crowder finished with 121 yards receiving on 10 catches for Duke, which was playing as a ranked team for the first time since the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl.

They beat Wake Forest for the second straight year, reached the nine-win mark for the first time since 1941 and - if they beat rival North Carolina next week - will play No. 2 Florida State in the ACC title game.

But Duke spent a decent chunk of this game coming from behind.

Price capped Wake Forest's opening drive of the second half with an 11-yard touchdown run that put the Demon Deacons up 21-14, before Boone tied it three plays later with his deep TD pass to Crowder.

Boone's 20-yard scramble to the Wake Forest 3 on Duke's next series set up Connette's touchdown run - the 30th of his career. That gave Duke its first lead with 3:21 left in the third.

Wake Forest came up empty on its next two possessions but had one last chance after Ross Martin missed a 48-yard field goal with 4:11 left.

But Cockrell intercepted Price's late pass over the middle and the Blue Devils ran out the clock to seal their first seven-game winning streak since 1994.

For a while, though, it looked like Duke's first appearance in the Top 25 in nearly two decades was going to be a short one because its offense couldn't get going until midway through the second quarter.

Once it got rolling, it was tough to stop: Duke scored on four of five possessions, and was stopped only when it took a knee to end the half.

Boone's shorter TD pass to Crowder got Duke's offense started, and his back-shoulder fade to McCaffrey tied it at 14 with 1:11 before the break.

The Demon Deacons' offense hadn't scored a touchdown since the second half of the Miami loss on Oct. 26 - and on Duke's second possession, their defense started the scoring.

Brown turned receiver Isaac Blakeney's fumble into a scoop-and-score with 5:02 left in the first. Wake Forest then followed that with their first offensive TD of the month when Price's pass to Bishop made it 14-0 three plays into the second.

WINSTON, NO. 2 FSU ROLL PAST IDAHO 80-14 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Life off the field may be complicated for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and the second-ranked Seminoles, but things are simple between the lines.

Winston threw for 225 yards and four touchdowns as Florida State broke a school record for points in a game in an 80-14 victory against Idaho Saturday.

An ongoing sexual assault investigation of the Heisman Trophy candidate continues to cast a shadow over the program while the team focuses on football. State attorney Willie Meggs told The Associated Press on Saturday it is unlikely that a final decision will be made before Thanksgiving on whether to charge the quarterback.

The lawyer of the accuser, Patricia Carroll, claims Winston raped the victim on Dec. 7, 2012. Winston's lawyer Tim Jansen said the sex between the two was consensual.

"The football field is a sanctuary to me," Winston said. "And it's like that for all of our teammates. When all of us are on the field everything is just zoned out. We focus."

Florida State (11-0), second in the BCS standings, is two wins away from a likely berth in the BCS championship game with the regular-season finale at Florida next week. This is the first 11-0 start for the program since the 1999 national championship season and the first time going undefeated at home since 2000.

The Gators (4-7) lost 26-20 to Georgia Southern on Saturday and will be heavy underdogs next week. Florida State should go into the Atlantic Coast Conference championship without a loss and be favored again. A trip to Pasadena for the title game is nearly within its grasp.

Winston, a Heisman Trophy front-runner, played just one series in the second half.

"It's not right for the game," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said when asked about getting Winston better stats with more playing time. "People know he played well. ... He played exceptionally well and he's on a great team.

"To me, stats aren't the key for awards. It's how well you play, how you dominate your opponent and what you do. That's my opinion. People who look at numbers don't really know the player."

The Seminoles have dominated throughout the season, but 66 points was the largest margin of victory since a 69-3 win against Murray State in the 2012 season opener. They topped the 77 points the Seminoles scored in 1995 against North Carolina State in 1995 to remain unbeaten.

The 607 points scored by Florida State in 2013 broke the ACC single-season record set by the Seminoles last season.

Fisher, who criticized his team's focus early, admitted he was being picky, "but that's the elite standard we want to be held to."

Devonta Freeman opened up the scoring with a 60-yard run on their seventh offensive snap of the game. That was the beginning of the punishing day for a run game that posted 336 yards rushing. He had 129 yards on 11 carries as the entire backfield got loose. Freeman is now the 14th player in school history to rush for 2,000.

James Wilder Jr. carried an entire possession on his back in the second quarter. He capped a five-play, 85-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown with 5:54 left in the second quarter. Wilder carried the ball on four of those five plays and accounted for every yard. Karlos Williams added 114 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.

Kenny Shaw recorded his first 100-yard game of the season in the last home game of his career. He finished with 107 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions. Kelvin Benjamin hauled in two touchdowns on his three receptions and now has a touchdown in six of his last seven games.

"I don't think our high school basketball team scored 80 points," Shaw said.

The Vandals (1-10) were never competitive and that began at the line of scrimmage. They had no answer for nose guard Timmy Jernigan and couldn't create running lanes or protect the quarterback. Jernigan had a team-high 6 tackles, including 4 1/2 for loss and a career-high 2 1/2 sacks.

"You know, what do you say when you get beat 80-14?" Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. "I wouldn't say anyone on that team didn't play well."

Taylor Davis threw for 220 yards and a touchdown, but three interceptions turned into 14 points for Florida State. Linebacker Telvin Smith returned one of the interceptions 79 yards for a score in the second quarter. The Seminoles have now scored a non-offensive touchdown in three consecutive games.

Idaho managed just 59 rushing yards and threw four interceptions. Dezmon Epps finished with 126 yards on seven receptions.

"We've just got a real good vibe about us," Jernigan said. "We just look to dominate week in and week out."

Sims, Georgia Tech roll past Alabama A&M 66-7 

ATLANTA (AP) - David Sims says Georgia Tech accomplished exactly what it set out to do against Alabama A&M.

"We wanted to make sure that when we come in to watch film on Monday," he said, "that we'll like what we see."

Sims ran for 111 yards, Synjyn Days and Matt Connors each had two rushing touchdowns and Georgia Tech beat Alabama A&M 66-7 on Saturday.

Coach Paul Johnson got the performance he wanted against an FCS opponent before the Yellow Jackets host Georgia next week.

Georgia Tech (7-4) used mostly third- and fourth-stringers in the second half as Johnson sought to keep top players healthy on a brisk, overcast afternoon.

"I thought early on we played fairly well," Johnson said. "Then as the game wore on in the second half, really we were just trying to make sure we didn't lose anybody for next week."

Jaymason Lee completed 14 of 27 passes for 205 yards and one touchdown for Alabama A&M (4-8). The Bulldogs ended their season by losing five of seven.

Zach Laskey, Robert Godhigh, Days and Connors combined for five short-yardage TDs in the first half.

Sims scored on a 39-yard run, linebacker Quayshawn Nealy returned a fumble 18 yards and Harrison Butker added a 40-yard field goal to make it 52-0 at halftime.

Georgia Tech announced that it set a modern-day school record for points in a single half and the most since 1950.

Quarterback Tim Byerly ran for a 20-yard score in the closing minutes to make it 66-7.

Alabama A&M scored late in the fourth quarter when Lee's 20-yard TD pass to Demario Ross cut the lead to 59-7.

"No one wants to leave the game without scoring," Lee said. "I told the offense, 'Let's try to get on the board no matter how much time we've got.' "

Jackets linebacker Tyler Marcordes, making his first start of the season, had one interception, 1.5 sacks, three tackles and one forced fumble in the first half.

The sophomore's interception came against Terrance Pride on Alabama A&M's second play from scrimmage and set up the 6-yard run by Laskey that made it 14-0.

Marcordes replaced Brandon Watts, whose undisclosed injury snapped a string of 19 straight starts. Johnson said this week that Watts could return for the Georgia game, but added that he would not play against Alabama A&M.

Nealy's fumble return for a touchdown was the Jackets' first since Jerrard Tarrant ran one back against Mississippi State in 2009.

The Jackets, who attempted only six passes in the game, led 38-0 at the 10:52 mark of the second quarter. Sims' 39-yard touchdown run 4 minutes later gave them a 45-0 lead.

At that point, Georgia Tech had 315 total yards, 302 more than Alabama A&M.

Offensive tackle Ray Beno returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the Oct. 5 loss at Miami. Beno took 12 snaps at Clemson, but Johnson wanted him to play multiple series so he'll be ready for the Georgia game.

Connors added a 4-yard TD run early in the third to put Georgia Tech ahead 59-0. For a senior like Godhigh, the second half was a good time to cheer for teammates who rarely get to play.

Connors, a redshirt junior, is not listed on the depth chart at B-back in Johnson's spread option attack.

"It's definitely fun," said Godhigh, the Jackets' season leader in all-purpose yards. "To see everybody get a chance to go out and play in front of all the fans was fun to watch."

More importantly, Sims believes the Jackets will be in good shape physically and mentally when Georgia visits Bobby Dodd Stadium. Georgia has won four straight against the Jackets and leads the series 63-39-5.

"If we can focus on ourselves and make sure that we come out to play," Sims said. "I think we have a good chance of winning this game."

Miami snaps slide, tops Virginia 45-26  

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - Tracy Howard returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown on the game's first snap, the first of four scores created by Miami's defense, and the Hurricanes kept their divisional title hopes alive by beating Virginia 45-26 on Saturday.

Stephen Morris passed for 214 yards and two touchdowns in his home finale for Miami (8-3, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who snapped a three-game losing streak. Dallas Crawford rushed for two touchdowns, Allen Hurns had 126 receiving yards and a score and Stacy Coley had a 62-yard touchdown catch for Miami.

David Gilbert ran a fumble back 72 yards for a touchdown in the final minutes for Miami. Both of Crawford's scores were set up by interceptions, one by Ladarius Gunter late in the first half, the other by Kacy Rodgers II in the fourth quarter.

Taquan Mizzell had two touchdowns and Kevin Parks ran for 130 yards and a score for Virginia (2-9, 0-7), which has dropped eight straight overall and lost to Miami for the first time in four years. Starting quarterback David Watford completed 10 of 25 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown for the Cavaliers, but was intercepted three times, all of them getting turned into touchdowns.

Gunter was carted off with an undisclosed injury with 2:02 remaining. He had a helmet-to-helmet collision with Mizzell on a play where the Cavaliers freshman ran into the end zone from 7 yards out, remained on his feet for a few seconds, then fell to the ground.

There was no immediate word on his condition.

Howard's pick-six gave Miami a 7-0 lead a mere 6 seconds after kickoff, and another turnover kept the Hurricanes on top late in the first half.

Miami's lead was 14-13 and Virginia was driving deep into Hurricane territory with less than 2 minutes before intermission, when Gunter intercepted a pass from Watford inside the red zone and ran it back 81 yards to the Virginia 3. Crawford scored three plays later, giving the Hurricanes a 21-13 lead at the break.

And with Virginia within 31-20 in the fourth, after Mizzell caught a 10-yard TD pass, Rodgers had an interception that set Miami up at the Cavaliers 16. Crawford finished off that drive two plays later.

Miami's win means the ACC Coastal Division race, and the right to play Atlantic Division champion Florida State in the conference title game, won't be decided until the season's final weekend.

For Miami to win the Coastal, it needs three outcomes next week: A win at Pittsburgh, a Duke loss at North Carolina and a Virginia Tech loss at Virginia.

A loss to Virginia would have doomed the 'Canes, and Miami's maligned defense - which had allowed at least 40 points in each of its previous three games - set the early tone. 

And the turnovers more than negated a ton of stats that all overwhelmingly pointed Virginia's way: The Cavaliers outgained Miami 483-304, had 28 first downs to the Hurricanes' 11, and held the football for nearly 38 minutes.

Williams, North Carolina rout Old Dominion 80-20 

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) - Marquise Williams began the season as North Carolina's change-of-pace quarterback, a better runner than thrower. He's quickly forging a new identity as the full-time starter for the Tar Heels.

North Carolina also looks like a new version of itself, now 6-5 after a 1-5 start.

Williams threw five first-half touchdown passes and T.J. Logan scored four touchdowns to help North Carolina to a record-setting 80-20 victory over Old Dominion on Saturday.

The Tar Heels set all-time records for points and touchdowns by the midpoint of the third quarter, and Williams set the single-game record for total yards on the Tar Heels' fourth snap of the second half.

Just two of North Carolina's 11 TDs came on possessions longer than 1 minute, 44 seconds. By mutual agreement of the coaches, the fourth quarter was shortened from 15 minutes to 10.

Williams finished 20 of 27 passing for 409 yards and rushed for 60 more, helping North Carolina to a school-record 721 yards. Williams tied the UNC mark for passing touchdowns and was third in single-game total yards by halftime.

"I thought he threw the ball pretty well today," UNC coach Larry Fedora said. "He's taking the ball and he's putting it where it's supposed to go."

The point total was the second-most in ACC history, surpassed only by Clemson's 82 in 1981 against Wake Forest. North Carolina's basketball team scored 82 points Saturdayin a win over another Virginia school, Richmond.

"We tried to beat the basketball score," said Williams, who became the starter after senior Bryn Renner was lost to injury Nov. 2. "We (saw) they scored 82. We wanted coach to let us kick a field goal so we could get 83."

The Tar Heels became bowl-eligible with their fifth consecutive victory, their longest win streak since 2001. The Monarchs (8-4), in a transition season from the Football Championship Subdivision to Football Bowl Subdivision, had their four-game win streak snapped.

"This one certainly didn't go the way we had planned or the way we had hoped," ODU coach Bobby Wilder said.

North Carolina outscored ODU 68-7 in the middle two quarters, behind a combined seven touchdowns from freshmen Logan and Ryan Switzer. Logan had two 1-yard runs, a 63-yard run and a 99-yard kickoff return. Switzer scored on receptions of 43 and 57 yards and added a 64-yard punt return that put the Tar Heels ahead by the final margin with3:50 left in the third quarter.

Switzer's punt-return score was his fourth in three games and tied the ACC single-season record. His three consecutive games with a punt-return touchdown tied an NCAA record.

"I just like competing," Switzer said. "I don't like fair-catching the ball."

The Tar Heels outscored ODU 35-0 in the second quarter, tying the school record for points in a quarter. Old Dominion, trying for its second victory over an FBS team after winning 59-38 at Idaho two weeks earlier, couldn't get its high-powered offense cranked up to match or even stay close to the Tar Heels.

North Carolina's last 23 touchdowns, and all 11 against Old Dominion, have been scored by freshmen or sophomores.

"They're making a lot of plays for us," Fedora said. "Because these guys have grown up about midway through the season, you've started to see this team become much better."

Pitt beats Syracuse 17-16, becomes bowl-eligible

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Isaac Bennett scored the decisive touchdown on a 5-yard run on the final play of the third quarter, Tom Savage passed for 218 yards and another score, and Pittsburgh rallied past Syracuse 17-16 on Saturday in a critical game for both teams.

Both needed a victory to become eligible for the postseason, and Pitt (6-5, 3-4 ACC) got the job done. Syracuse (5-6, 3-4) has one more chance next week at home against Boston College.

Trailing with time winding down in the third, Savage directed a nine-play, 88-yard drive to give the Panthers the winning score. After taking a hard hit from blitzing linebacker Marquis Spruill, Savage hit tight end J.P. Holtz for 16 yards on third down, and the ball was moved another 15 yards to the Syracuse 43 after an unsportsmanlike conduct was whistled against the Orange.

Savage hit Holtz again for 11 yards on the right side, and Manasseh Garner caught two more passes for 27 yards to set up Bennett's run.

The Orange squandered a chance to regain the lead after Luke Arciniega intercepted Savage's deflected pass at midfield early in the fourth. Despite help from a personal foul against Pitt, the Syracuse drive stalled and Ryan Norton missed right on a 41-yard field goal attempt.

In a game decided by the thinnest of margins, the difference was a blocked extra point by Pitt star Aaron Donald, who had 3.5 tackles for a loss.

Syracuse had one last chance at victory in the final minute, but when the Orange lined up for a 53-yard field goal attempt on a fourth-and-8 play, Pitt called a timeout just as the ball was snapped on what was going to be a fake. Terrel Hunt's pass fell incomplete when play resumed and the Panthers escaped.

Savage, who had suffered 37 sacks coming in, was sacked three more times but finished 28 of 41 and a pretty touchdown to Garner. Chris Boyd had 10 catches for 82 yards.

Syracuse had gained a 16-10 lead with 6:25 left in the third when Hunt combined with Alvin Cornelius III for a 42-yard score on a third-and-15 play, and it was spectacular. Hunt, who misfired on five long passes in his previous Carrier Dome start three weeks ago, laid out a long pass down the right sideline and Cornelius, a redshirt freshman, made a fingertip grab as he tumbled into the end zone for his first career score.

Hunt finished 18 of 28 for 159 yards and Jerome Smith gained 88 yards rushing for the Orange.

Syracuse's run game is its strength - it entered the game averaging just under 200 yards rushing to rank 37th nationally - and the Orange scored the game's first touchdown on a 67-yard drive that took just four plays - all on the ground.

George Morris II romped 22 yards over left tackle on Syracuse's second play from scrimmage and two plays later Smith raced 36 yards untouched through the Pitt line for a touchdown. Donald blocked the extra-point try by Norton and the Orange led 6-0 at 12:07 of the first.

The Panthers broke through early in the second on Chris Blewitt's 43-yard field goal after a 19-play drive that took 9:13. Syracuse nearly stopped it when Pitt wideout Kevin Weatherspoon fumbled inside the Orange 25, but linebacker Cameron Lynch failed to cover the ball and it squirted out of bounds at the 22. Lynch made up for the botch by sacking Savage twice after the Panthers had driven inside the 5, the second coming on third down and forcing the kick.

The Syracuse defense spent a lot of time in the field in the opening half. Pitt had the ball for more than 19 minutes and finally gained its first lead late in the second as the Panthers converted three critical third downs against the sixth-best third-down defense in the country.

Savage completed a 15-yard pass to Boyd in traffic over the middle on a third-and-5 play from his own 35 and James Conner rushed for 14 on third-and-1 to keep the drive going. Facing third-and-2 from the Orange 7, Savage hit Garner on the right side, and he dived for the pylon to put Pitt up 10-6 with 3:06 left in the second quarter.

Syracuse took advantage of a turnover in the final minute of the period to pull within 10-9 at halftime. Weatherspoon fumbled a punt and Ritchy Desir recovered for the Orange at the Pitt 24. Syracuse had to settle for Norton's 41-yard field goal after Hunt's pass for Durell Eskridge in the left corner of the end zone was ruled out of bounds.

Maryland falls to Boston College 29-26 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) - Maryland's final home game in the Atlantic Coast Conference featured a variety of plays the Terrapins probably won't ever forget - no matter how hard they try.

It wasn't just that Maryland blew an 11-point lead to Boston College in the fourth quarter or yielded 263 yards rushing to Andre Williams, who became the 16th player in NCAA history to reach the 2,000-yard mark in a single season.

No, the worst part about the Terrapins' 29-26 defeat Saturday was that coach Randy Edsall used a timeout an instant before a 52-yard field goal try by Eagles kicker Nate Freese sailed wide left.

Given a second opportunity, Freese banged the game-winner through the uprights with the wind at his back, setting off a wild celebration on the Boston College sideline.

The Terrapins, on the other side, stood stunned. After absorbing the reality of the moment, they slowly shuffled off the field at Byrd Stadium for the last time as a member of the ACC.

"Obviously, I shouldn't have taken that timeout. He missed it," Edsall said. "But it's just one of those things that you feel you're doing something to put a little more doubt in the guy's head. I made a decision and it just didn't work out."

It was the fourth loss in five games for Maryland (6-5, 2-5). The Terrapins, who will shift to the Big Ten in 2014, close out their ACC schedule next week at North Carolina State.

On a day the school honored 15 departing seniors and celebrated its affiliation with the ACC since 1953, Maryland took advantage of a pair of fumbles by Boston College (7-4, 4-3) to go up 24-13 with 10:52 left.

The lead wouldn't last.

Williams ran 72 yards for a touchdown, a jaunt that moved him over the 2,000-mark. Maryland appeared poised for the clinching score when running back Jacquille Veii lost a fumble at the Boston College 7, and Chase Rettig subsequently threw to a wide open Alex Amidon for a 74-yard score to make it 26-24.

But the conversion was blocked, and Maryland's Anthony Nixon took it the distance the other way to tie it with 5:02 left.

That set the stage for the stunning finish. As it turned out, Freese actually benefited from Edsall's ill-timed timeout.

"Going into that re-kick, I was a lot more confident," Freese said. "I was just calm, trying to get a little better judgment of the wind. It was kind of going from my right to left. Being out there a little longer, I got a little better feel for it."

Early in the Eagles' final drive, Edsall took a timeout before Williams peeled off a 36-yard run on third down that put the ball on the Maryland 37. A spike and a 2-yard run preceded the missed - then successful - field goal tries.

"This one is sour," said Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown, who ran for a touchdown and threw for a score.

Maryland opened the second half with a 70-yard drive capped by a 33-yard touchdown pass from Brown to Amba Etta-Tawo for a 17-10 lead. The score came two plays after the Terrapins successfully gambled on a fourth-and-1 at the BC 34.

The Eagles closed to 17-13 late in the third quarter when Freese kicked a 19-yard field goal to end a march that lasted nearly seven minutes. The kick came after Boston College failed to get into the end zone on three runs - two by Williams, one by Rettig - from inside the Maryland 3.

The Terrapins went up by 11 on a 3-yard run by Brown with 10:52 to go. The score came after Bryce Jones mishandled a punt at the BC 33.

Rettig was 1 for 7 for 1 yard and an interception before halftime, but Williams rushed for 107 yards and a touchdown to help Boston College forge a tie.

After Williams had runs of 31 and 30 yards on the opening drive to set up a field goal, Maryland pulled even on its second possession.

Late in the first quarter, Rettig was in shotgun formation when a low snap skipped past him. The quarterback chased down the ball and fumbled upon being tackled by Maryland linebacker Marcus Whitfield, who recovered at the BC 1. That set up a touchdown run by Albert Reid for a 10-3 lead.

The Eagles tied it when Williams scored on a 6-yard run after Manuel Aspirilla blocked a punt inside the Maryland 10.

On the ensuing possession, Maryland had a touchdown wiped out by offensive pass interference. Seconds later, Brown was ruled over the line of scrimmage on a completion to the Boston College 1.
 

EAST CAROLINA ROLLS PAST NC STATE 42-28

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Brandon Mitchell and the North Carolina State passing offense finally started clicking and getting into the end zone. The problem was it didn't happen until East Carolina had long since put the game away.

With the Wolfpack facing a possible winless run through the Atlantic Coast Conference, Mitchell is hoping that late three-touchdown flurry in Saturday's 42-28 loss to the Pirates offers something to build on next week against Maryland.

Mitchell threw for a season-high 312 yards and four touchdowns, two going to freshman Jumichael Ramos in the final 5½ minutes.

"I think it was really big," Mitchell said. "It was really big for a lot of those young receivers. ... Obviously we want to win but it's also good for us to keep trying to build this program for the future and get guys like that the ball."

Mitchell found Ramos for a 2-yard score with 5:22 left, then had a 30-yard scoring pass to senior Rashard Smith with 51 seconds left. After the Wolfpack recovered an onside kick, Mitchell connected with Ramos once more for an 18-yard score with 5 seconds left.

Mitchell, the Arkansas graduate transfer, hadn't thrown for more than 148 yards in his injury-shortened season before Saturday.

For East Carolina, Shane Carden threw three touchdown passes and ran for two scores.

Justin Hardy had a first-quarter TD catch for the Pirates (9-2), who dominated the Wolfpack (3-8) to reach nine wins for the third time in six years. East Carolina led 21-7 at halftime and 35-7 entering the fourth on the way to the season's second road win against an instate rival from the ACC, not to mention its fifth straight overall.

The Pirates were stepping away from their Conference USA championship chase in their final year in that league. They travel to Marshall next week with a chance to clinch an appearance in the league title game as well as their first 10-win season in 22 years.

It was another ugly moment in a season full of them for N.C. State, which lost its seventh straight under first-year coach Dave Doeren.

This time, the Pirates were so dominant that they drove thousands of Wolfpack fans to the Carter-Finley Stadium exits by the start of the fourth quarter, leaving more fans wearing ECU purple than the home red for the final 15 minutes.

The Wolfpack scored three touchdowns in the final 5½ minutes after the Pirates had long since put the game away.

The game felt a lot like the Pirates' 55-31 win at North Carolina in September. In that one, the Pirates pushed the Tar Heels around on their home field for their first win at Kenan Stadium in nearly four decades. Saturday's performance marked ECU's first win at Carter-Finley since 2006 as well as the first time the Pirates have beaten both the Tar Heels and the Wolfpack in the same season.

Carden threw for 255 yards on 23-for-30 passing, finding Hardy for a 3-yard score on the game's first drive then Bryce Williams for a 5-yard score early in the second. Carden ran for a 3-yard touchdown later in the quarter to make it 21-7, then added a 1-yard keeper midway through the third to push the lead to 28-7.

He closed his day with a 25-yard scoring pass to Lance Ray with 1:56 left, making it 42-14.

Vintavious Cooper ran for 148 yards on 22 carries for East Carolina, while Breon Allen added a short rushing touchdown in the third that made it 35-7.

Hardy finished with eight catches for 83 yards to set the school's single-season record for yards receiving.

Syracuse wilts at end, loses 17-16 to Pittsburgh 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Jay Bromley shook his head in dismay. Another game had slipped away from the Syracuse Orange.

Isaac Bennett scored on a 5-yard run on the final play of the third quarter, and Pitt held off Syracuse 17-16 on Saturday in a game with a lot on the line for both teams.

Both needed a victory to become eligible for the postseason, and Pitt (6-5, 3-4 ACC) got the job done.

Syracuse (5-6, 3-4) finishes its regular season next week at home against Boston College.

"We've got one shot to go to a bowl game," Bromley said. "We can't go into this game thinking that we are a good team. We have to practice better, we have to play better to win. Period.

"We can't just keep saying, 'Oh, we killed ourselves.' Stop shooting yourself in the foot. Put away the gun," Bromley said. "We can't keep doing that and expect to come out victorious. It gets frustrating when you get so close."

Both defenses pitched a shutout in the final quarter and Syracuse had one last chance in the final minute.

Syracuse had one last chance at victory in the final minute, but when the Orange lined up for a 53-yard field goal attempt on a fourth-and-8 play, Pitt called a timeout just as the ball was snapped on what was going to be a fake. Terrel Hunt's pass fell incomplete when play resumed and the Panthers began celebrating.

"We had it in our hands and we let it slip away," Bromley said. "We couldn't get the job done."

Syracuse had gained a 16-10 lead with 6:25 left in the third when Hunt combined with Alvin Cornelius III for a 42-yard score on a third-and-15 play, and it was spectacular. Hunt, who misfired on five long passes in his previous Carrier Dome start three weeks ago, laid out a long pass down the right sideline and Cornelius, a redshirt freshman, made a fingertip grab as he tumbled into the end zone for his first career score.

Still, Hunt misfired several more times on long passes, none more critical than one just before halftime with Pitt nursing a 10-6 lead.

Pitt's Kevin Weatherspoon fumbled a punt and Ritchy Desir recovered for the Orange at the Pitt 24 in the final minute, but Syracuse had to settle for Ryan Norton's 41-yard field goal after Hunt's pass to Durell Eskridge in the left corner of the end zone was ruled out of bounds.

"I feel like I made the catch," said Eskridge, who played wideout in high school but starts at free safety for the Orange. "I kind of bobbled it a little bit at the end, but I feel like I brought it in. The officials made the call and we had to live with it."

Hunt finished 18 of 28 for 159 yards and Jerome Smith gained 88 yards rushing for the Orange, who sorely missed senior placekicker Ross Krautman. He's out for the season with a pelvic injury.

"We're still hungry," Hunt said. "Right now, we're a little bruised."

Pitt's Aaron Donald, one of six semifinalists for the Outland Trophy and the only defensive player on the list, had another standout game with 3.5 tackles for a loss. It was his big hands, though, that spelled the difference in the critical win. He blocked his first kick of the season after the Orange had scored on their first possession. That was one point the Orange never got back.

"We've been watching film all week," Donald said. "We pushed them back. I just got my hand on it. We did this as a team. A lot of guys made plays, not just me."

The ACC has agreements to send at least eight - and as many as 10 - of its members to bowl games if they qualify, and 10 already have.

"Frustrating? Hell, yeah," first-year Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said. "I want to put my hand through a wall right now. But that's the way life goes. We have to foster that frustration and turn it into motivation and go find a way to get this victory against Boston College. We're not going to use excuses. We've got to fight."

The Panthers won it with time winding down in the third period as Tom Savage directed a nine-play, 88-yard scoring drive. After taking a hard hit from blitzing linebacker Marquis Spruill, Savage, who used quick drops and short passes all game to thwart the Syracuse defense, hit tight end J.P. Holtz for 16 yards on third down.

After the ball was moved another 15 yards to the Syracuse 43 after an unsportsmanlike conduct was whistled against the Orange, Savage hit Holtz again for 11 yards on the right side and Manasseh Garner caught two more passes for 27 yards to set up Bennett's run. Pitt converted an impressive 9 of 17 third-down plays against what had been the sixth-best third-down defense in the nation.

"Just get the ball out," said Savage, who was 28 of 41 for 218 yards and a touchdown to Garner late in the second quarter. "They're a physical team and they blitz a lot, so just get the ball in somebody's hands and see if they can make a play."

The Orange squandered a chance to regain the lead after Luke Arciniega intercepted Savage's deflected pass at midfield early in the fourth. Despite help from a personal foul against Pitt, the Syracuse drive stalled and Norton missed right.

For a game that started as if it might be a romp for the Orange against a team that has struggled to find consistency, Donald's big paw helped change the outcome.

"You talk about a big play, and that was the first one," Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. "Guys were mentally tough."

Turnovers doom Virginia in 45-26 loss to Miami 

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) - One play and 6 seconds into the game, Virginia was trailing.

For a team that hasn't won in two months, fighting uphill all day proved too difficult a challenge to overcome.

Virginia turned the ball over four times, including giving up an interception for a touchdown on the game's first snap, and the Cavaliers saw their losing streak reach eight games with a 45-26 loss to the Hurricanes on Saturday. Each turnover was turned into a Miami touchdown, that four-pack of freebies rendering a slew of impressive Virginia offensive numbers moot.

"You can't have that," Virginia coach Mike London said.

The numbers would suggest a far different outcome: The Cavaliers (2-9, 0-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) outgained Miami 483-304, had 28 first downs to Miami's 11, converted 11 of 20 third-down opportunities, held a 243-90 edge in rushing yards and held the ball for nearly 38 minutes in which they ran 91 plays to Miami's 52.

But when opportunity knocked, Miami answered.

"That's a good Miami team," London said. "They played well and they capitalized when they needed to and we didn't."

Tracy Howard returned an interception 19 yards for a touchdown a mere 6 seconds after kickoff for the Hurricanes (8-3, 4-3), who remained alive in the ACC's Coastal Division race.

Howard knew Virginia's David Watford was throwing a screen pass. He made Watford pay, too, and the 'Canes went on to snap a three-game slide.

David Gilbert had a 72-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, and interceptions set up two drives that Dallas Crawford capped with touchdown runs for Miami.

Stephen Morris passed for 214 yards and two touchdowns in Miami's home finale. Allen Hurns had 126 receiving yards and a score and Stacy Coley had a 62-yard touchdown grab for Miami, which got a big momentum shift late in the half when Ladarius Gunter had an interception in the Miami red zone. Gunter returned the ball 81 yards to the Miami 3, the Hurricanes took a 21-13 lead three plays later, and weren't in trouble again.

"Defense, I thought, really played their tails off," Miami coach Al Golden said.

Added Morris, on the defense: "They were dominant."

Taquan Mizzell caught a touchdown pass and ran for another, while Kevin Parks ran for 130 yards and a touchdown for Virginia, which lost to Miami for the first time in four years. Watford completed 10 of 25 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted three times.

"It's very frustrating," Parks said. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't frustrated right now. But we've got to make more plays and be positive."

Gunter was carted off with an upper-body injury with 2:02 remaining. He had a helmet-to-helmet collision with Mizzell on a play where the Cavaliers freshman ran into the end zone from 7 yards out, remained on his feet for a few seconds, then fell to the ground.

A university spokesman said Gunter was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami in an abundance of caution. He was released later Saturday night. Teammates said he was talking and joking with them while he was down on the turf, even as they kneeled around him.

"I told him he's still ugly," Rodgers said. "Something to joke around, to make sure he laughed."

Gunter is expected to return to action this season, Hurricanes spokesman Chris Yandle said.

Miami's win means the ACC Coastal Division race, and the right to play Atlantic Division champion Florida State in the conference title game, won't be decided until the season's final weekend.

For Miami to win the Coastal, it needs three outcomes next week: A win at Pittsburgh, a Duke loss at North Carolina and a Virginia Tech loss at Virginia.

"We just have to worry about the Pitt game," Golden said.

Howard's pick-six gave Miami a 7-0 lead - "I knew it was coming," Howard said - and turnovers kept ensuring that the Hurricanes stayed on top.

Miami's lead was 14-13 and Virginia was driving deep into Hurricanes territory with less than 2 minutes before intermission, when Gunter intercepted a pass from Watford. And with Virginia within 31-20 in the fourth, after Mizzell caught a 10-yard TD pass, Rodgers had an interception that set Miami up at the Cavaliers 16. Crawford finished off that drive two plays later.

"If it wasn't for the turnovers, it's a whole different game," Watford said.

No bowl for Wake after 28-21 loss to No. 25 Duke

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Tanner Price will leave Wake Forest with some of the best statistics in school history.

He'll also exit never having led the Demon Deacons to a winning season - and his final pass on his home field was one to forget.

Price rushed for one touchdown and threw for another, but his interception in the fourth quarter allowed No. 25 Duke to seal a 28-21 victory on Saturday.

Price was 12 of 27 for 124 yards in his final home game with a 6-yard touchdown to Spencer Bishop and an 11-yard touchdown run.

But the interception he threw to Ross Cockrell with 2:30 left - the Demon Deacons' second turnover of the fourth quarter - clinched their fourth straight loss, their fifth straight losing season and kept them out of the bowl picture for the fourth time in five years.

"That's a hard one to take," Price said.

Price has thrown for 8,744 yards in his career - more than any other Wake Forestquarterback but Riley Skinner, who he replaced in 2010 after he led the Demon Deacons to three straight winning seasons from 2006-09.

But with no chance at a bowl game, the final college game for Price and fellow senior nose tackle Nikita Whitlock next week at Vanderbilt can't help but feel like an exhibition.

"It's about pride. It's about manhood," Whitlock said. "If you love the game, you're going to go play. ... We've got one more game to show what we've got. It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but it matters to us."

Anthony Boone threw three touchdown passes and Duke claimed a share of the ACC's Coastal Division title with its school-record-tying ninth victory.

If the Blue Devils (9-2, 5-2) beat the Tar Heels next week, they'll play No. 2 Florida State in the league title game in Charlotte with a BCS berth on the line.

"Every time we've won a game, obviously, the next one gets bigger and the challenge gets bigger," coach David Cutcliffe said. "This will be our greatest challenge of the year."

The Blue Devils fell behind 14-0 and spent a decent chunk of the day playing catch-up before change-of-pace QB Brandon Connette rushed 3 yards for the go-ahead score late in the third quarter.

Boone finished 24 of 29 for 256 yards with touchdown passes covering 58 and 10 yards to Jamison Crowder and 4 yards to Max McCaffrey.

Crowder finished with 121 yards receiving on 10 catches for Duke, which was playing as a ranked team for the first time since the 1995 Hall of Fame Bowl.

They beat Wake Forest for the second straight year - after losing 12 straight in the series - and reached the nine-win mark for the first time since 1941.

Price capped Wake Forest's opening drive of the second half with an 11-yard touchdown run that put the Demon Deacons up 21-14, before Boone tied it three plays later with his deep TD pass to Crowder.

Boone's 20-yard scramble to the Wake Forest 3 on Duke's next series set up Connette's touchdown run that gave Duke the lead with 3:21 left in the third.

Wake Forest had one last chance after Ross Martin missed a 48-yard field goal with 4:11left. But Cockrell intercepted Price's late pass over the middle and the Blue Devils ran out the clock to seal their first seven-game winning streak since 1994.

Price said the intended receiver, Sherman Ragland III, stopped his post route - "I think maybe he thought I was scrambling," Price said - and Cockrell jumped the route and picked off the pass.

Duke's defense, which has allowed just three offensive touchdowns in the fourth quarter this season, forced Josh Harris to fumble and defensive end Kenny Anunike sacked Price on consecutive plays to push the Demon Deacons out of field goal range.

For a while, it looked like Duke's first appearance in the Top 25 in nearly two decades was going to be a short one because its offense couldn't get going until midway through the second quarter.

Once it did, it was tough to stop: Duke scored on four of five possessions, and was stopped only when it took a knee to end the half.

The Demon Deacons' offense hadn't scored a touchdown since the second half of the Miami loss on Oct. 26 - and on Duke's second possession, their defense started the scoring.

Thomas Brown turned receiver Isaac Blakeney's fumble into a 59-yard scoop-and-score with 5:02 left in the first. Wake Forest then followed that with its first offensive TD of the month when Price's pass to Bishop made it 14-0 three plays into the second.