ACC teams from North Carolina had a tough weekend. UNC was trounced, 59-7 at Virginia Tech. Duke lost at home to Pitt, 24-17, and Wake Forest lost at Georgia Tech, 38-24.
The local teams’ struggles were evident in the ACC Player of the Week Awards. Six of the nine players honored this week were from the teams that beat Wake, UNC and Duke.
Virginia Tech’s beat-down of Carolina, the third-worst loss in UNC football history, had plenty of Hokie heroes, mostly from the group of defensive and special teams players who showed that Beamer Ball is still alive and well in Blacksburg.
Junior defensive tackle Ricky Walker returned a Chazz Surratt fumble 19 yards for the game’s first touchdown. He added four tackles and 1.5 sacks. It was a career high in sacks for Walker, and he scored his first touchdown. For his effort, Walker earned the Defensive Lineman of the Week award.
Senior return man Greg Stroman returned a punt 91 yards for a touchdown to give the Hokies a 14-0 lead. It was the second-longest punt return in Lane Stadium history and third longest in the school record book. Stroman is the second-leading punt returner in Virginia Tech history and had 116 yards on four returns. That earned him Specialist of the Week honors.
Sophomore safety Reggie Floyd also had a defensive score for the Hokies. Floyd picked off a Brandon Harris pass and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown. It was the second-longest pick-six in the ACC this year and the longest by a Hokie since 2010. Floyd also had seven tackles, four solo. That allowed Floyd to share the Defensive Back of the Week award.
The other Defensive Back award went to Pitt junior safety Jordan Whitehead. He had a team-high 10 tackles in the win at Duke, broke up a pass and intercepted Daniel Jones at the Pitt 8-yard line to end a last-minute Duke drive that could have tied the score.
Pitt’s offense was keyed by junior running back Darrin Hall, who set a school record with a 92-yard touchdown run. He added a 79-yard touchdown run and had 254 yards and all three Pitt touchdowns. Hall earned Offensive Back of the Week honors.
Georgia Tech’s win over Wake was paced by senior guard Shamire Devine, who helped the Yellow Jackets gain 427 yards on the ground by pancaking 10 Deacs defensive players. Devine earned the Offensive Lineman of the Week award.
Miami won two of the other weekly awards. Tight end Christopher Herndon IV had 10 catches for 96 yards to earn Receiver of the Week. Senior Michael Pinckney had nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks to win Linebacker of the Week.
Boston College quarterback Anthony Brown won rookie of the week after passing for 275 yards and three touchdowns in an upset of UVA.