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ACC Roundup

Carolina comes back on Clemson

South Carolina 31
Clemson 28

    CLEMSON, S.C. — South Carolina and Steve Spurrier finally found a way to beat a ranked opponent and end a four-game losing streak to a state rival.
    Mike Davis rushed for two second-half touchdowns and Ryan Succop hit a go-ahead 35-yard field goal as the Gamecocks defeated No. 24 Clemson 31-28 on Saturday.
    The Gamecocks (7-5) trailed 28-14 after C.J. Spiller’s second touchdown run early in the third quarter and looked like they were about to fall again to Clemson (8-4), as they have so many times in this 104-game series. South Carolina also had dropped its five previous games against ranked Southeastern Conference foes this year.
    This time, though, the Gamecocks rallied behind quarterback Blake Mitchell, who shook off three earlier interceptions to lead three scoring drives.
    Clemson had a final chance, driving to South Carolina’s 22. But Jad Dean missed a 39-yard field goal left with 13 seconds remaining that would have tied the game. Instead, the Gamecocks celebrated their first victory at Death Valley since 1996.
    The Tigers opened the year 7-1 and got as high as No. 10 in the polls. But they finished by dropping three of their final four games.
    The Gamecocks gained 492 yards, surpassing the previous season high of 332 yards Clemson gave up in a loss to Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech 17,
Virginia 0

    BLACKSBURG, Va. — Sean Glennon threw a touchdown pass, George Bell ran for a score and No. 17 Virginia Tech’s defense made it stand as the Hokies ran their winning streak to six games and beat Virginia 17-0 on Saturday.
    The Hokies (10-2, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) deprived the Cavaliers (5-7, 4-4) of a bowl chance and beat their in-state rivals for the seventh time in eight meetings.
    Virginia Tech put the game away in the third quarter, outgaining Virginia 160-12 while putting together scoring drives of 74 and 91 yards.
    Virginia Tech’s defense, ranked second in the nation coming in, posted its fourth shutout of the season. The Cavaliers finished with just 112 yards and managed only five first downs.
    The turning point came just before halftime when, Virginia sent in a five-receiver formation for a third-and-5 from its own 14.
    Quarterback Jameel Sewell, who picked apart Miami’s highly ranked defense last week, was hit by Xavier Adibi as he was dropping back and fumbled. Carlton Powell recovered for the Hokies at the 12, and Bell ran four times for the touchdown with 39 seconds left in the half.
    In the second half, Glennon directed a 74-yard drive to Brandon Pace’s 22nd consecutive successful field goal attempt, a 23-yarder. Then the quarterback capped a 91-yard drive with a pass that Eddie Royal turned into a 49-yard touchdown. Royal escaped an ankle tackle from Chris Cook just after the catch, then zigzagged to the end zone.
    With the Hokies defense keeping Sewell on the run and tailback Jason Snelling under wraps, the Cavaliers never threatened in their second consecutive road shutout loss.
    They were beaten 33-0 at Florida State on Nov. 4, and finished 1-5 on the road.
    Glennon, who called the game a chance to show Virginia’s coaches they made a mistake by not offering him a scholarship, finished 12-for-18 for 146 yards after an auspicious start. He was sacked for nine yards by Clint Sintim to end the Hokies first possession, and threw an ill-advised interception to end their second possession.
    On the play, he was flushed and scrambling to his left when he attempted to flip to ball sideways to Bell, but it went instead to defensive end Jeffrey Fitzgerald.
    But for the sixth straight game, the Hokies held after committing a turnover and Virginia punted it back after running just three plays.


North Carolina 45,
Duke 44

    DURHAM, N.C. — Duke was on the brink of forcing an improbable overtime and celebrated its late touchdown with all the fervor of a victory party.
    North Carolina certainly noticed, and in this one-sided Tobacco Road rivalry, the winless Blue Devils probably should have known better.
    Seconds after Duke scored to make it a one-point game, Kentwan Balmer blocked the game-tying extra point to give North Carolina a 45-44 victory over Duke on Saturday in John Bunting’s final game as the Tar Heels’ coach.
    The Blue Devils nearly rallied from a 14-point deficit by scoring two touchdowns in the final 5 minutes, the second coming when defensive lineman Patrick Bailey intercepted Joe Dailey’s screen pass and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown with 2:49 to play.
    ‘‘They were out there (saying), ’It’s over, it’s over. We’re going to OT,’’’ Balmer said. ‘‘We didn’t say anything. A couple of our guys were like, ’Let’s block it.’’’
    Balmer burst through the middle and blocked Randy DeSmyter’s extra-point attempt — Balmer’s second blocked PAT of the game — and the Tar Heels recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock. North Carolina improved to 54-35-4 in the series and kept the Victory Bell for the third straight year.
    Duke coach Ted Roof said in that situation, going for two was not an option.
    ‘‘With that much time left in the game, we had the momentum,’’ Roof said. ‘‘And if we get into overtime, we can use our home crowd to our advantage. ... Looking back, I wish I wouldn’t (have kicked the PAT), but looking back and making decisions is always easier.’’
    Brandon Tate returned a punt 54 yards early in the fourth quarter for the go-ahead touchdown. Tate also returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and became the third player in school history to score on punt and kickoff returns in the same game for the Tar Heels (3-9, 2-6 Atlantic Coast Conference).
    ‘‘Coming into this game, I did have a sense that I was going to do something special, but I didn’t know I was going to do all that,’’ Tate said.
    Dailey finished 20-of-31 for a season-high 253 yards with two long touchdown passes for the Tar Heels.
    Duke’s Thad Lewis threw three of his career-high four touchdown passes to Tielor Robinson, and the two also hooked up on a two-point conversion attempt which tied it at 31-all with 1:21 left in the third quarter.
    ‘‘(Duke’s coaches) noticed North Carolina really doesn’t cover the flats too well,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘We were going to do it until they stopped it, and they didn’t stop it.’’
    After the teams traded punts, Tate took Alex Feinberg’s punt at the 46 and sprinted untouched through the Blue Devils’ coverage unit with 12:53 to play for his first career TD on a punt return.
    ‘‘We told the seniors and coach Bunting that we were going to play hard for them, give them a win and send them out on a good note,’’ Tate said.
    The Tar Heels closed Bunting’s tenure at his alma mater with two straight victories over rivals North Carolina State and Duke. Bunting was fired Oct. 22 but was kept on to finish the season. Butch Davis officially takes over Monday.
    ‘‘It’s been a hoot, it really has,’’ said Bunting, who took no questions from reporters during his final post-game news conference which consisted only of a 72-second statement.
    ‘‘I feel bad about the way things ended,’’ he added. ‘‘I’m really proud of the way that our players and our staff continued to grind and play the game, prepare for the game. ... It’s been really trying over these last five weeks. Nobody’s ever done that, I don’t think, before, so my hat is off to all of them.
    ‘‘Good bye. It’s been swell. I’m gone.’’
    The teams combined for 847 total yards and the 89 combined points were the second-highest total ever in the 93 meetings.
    Dailey had scoring passes covering 39 yards to Brooks Foster and 83 yards to Hakeem Nicks, and surpassed his previous best performance of the season, a 234-yard effort in the opener against Rutgers. Nicks had seven catches for 117 yards.
    Lewis was 20-of-35 for 285 yards with touchdowns covering 20 yards to Nick Stefanow and 5, 3 and 3 yards to Robinson for the Blue Devils (0-12, 0-8), who lost their 20th straight game and haven’t beaten a I-A team in more than two years.
    ‘‘We have to win in all facets of the game to be victorious,’’ Lewis said.
    Tate’s long kickoff return came with 17 seconds left in the first half and put the Tar Heels up 24-23 at the break.

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