ACC announces football players of the week
Pitt leads the way with three student-athletes honored as Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week. Two student-athletes from Florida State, North Carolina and Syracuse were recognized.
Pitt’s strong play on defense and special teams in last Thursday night’s 21-16 Coastal Division win over Virginia Tech was reflected in the selections for weekly honors. Pitt cornerback Reggie Mitchell was tabbed as ACC Defensive Back of the Week, while punter Ryan Winslow earned ACC Specialist of the Week recognition.
In addition, Pitt’s T.J. Clemmings was named the ACC Co-Offensive Lineman of the Week, joining Florida State’s Tre’ Jackson and Duke’s Matt Skura. Jackson led the blocking up front in the second-ranked Seminoles’ 31-27 win over fifth-ranked Notre Dame, while Skura keyed the Blue Devils’ offensive line in their 20-13 win over Virginia.
Jackson joined FSU teammate Terrance Smith in earning a conference weekly honor, as Smith was named the ACC Linebacker of the Week.
North Carolina junior quarterback Marquise Williams received the nod as the ACC Offensive Back of the Week for the second week in a row following his performance in UNC’s high-scoring win over Georgia Tech. Tar Heel sophomore wideout Ryan Switzer, who teamed up with Williams for a pair of touchdown passes, was named the ACC Receiver of the Week.
Syracuse defensive end Robert Welsh was named the ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week for his play in Saturday’s30-7 road win at Wake Forest, while Orange quarterback AJ Long was named the ACC Rookie of the Week.
OFFENSIVE BACK – Marquise Williams, North Carolina, Jr., QB, 6-2, 220, Charlotte, N.C.
Williams accounted for five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) in the Tar Heels’ 48-43 victory over Georgia Tech. Williams completed 38 of 47 pass attempts for 390 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 73 yards and gained 463 yards of total offense, the second most in UNC single-game history. Williams set the UNC record for completions in a game with 38 and broke the school record for completions in a half with 23 completions in the final two quarters. Williams has accumulated 898 yards of total offense in his last two games.
CO -OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Tre’ Jackson, Florida State, Sr., RG, 6-4, 330, Jesup, Ga.
Jackson graded out at 90 percent with four pancake blocks to help power the Seminoles to a 31-27 come-from-behind victory over fifth-ranked Notre Dame on Saturday. The Noles rolled up 212 yards of their 323 yards in an efficient second half in which they scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions, including runs of one and two yards as the offensive line opened holes against the Fighting Irish’s front seven.
CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Matt Skura, Duke, Jr.-r, C, 6-4, 305, Columbus, Ohio
Skura emerged as the top member of a Duke offensive line that opened holes for 155 rushing yards on 30 attempts (5.2 yards per carry) in Saturday’s 20-13 ACC win over Virginia. The effort came against a UVa defense that entered the game allowing just 91.5 yards per game (second in ACC & sixth in NCAA) and 2.7 yards per rush (seventh in the ACC). The Blue Devils also did not allow a sack against a UVa defense that entered the game with 23 total sacks to rank fifth nationally with 3.83 sacks per game. Skura and the offensive line keyed Duke’s game-winning drive in the fourth quarter – a nine-play, 65-yard march that included five rushes for 55 yards (11.0 yards per attempt).
CO-OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – T.J. Clemmings, Pitt, Sr.-r, RT, 6-6, 315. Teaneck, N.J.
Clemmings’ performance helped Pitt pile up 210 yards rushing against a Virginia Tech defense that ranked 16th nationally against the run (108.8 avg.) in last Thursday night’s 21-16 win over Virginia Tech. Clemmings helped quarterback Chad Voytik lead all rushers with 118 yards and also provided air-tight pass protection from his right tackle spot.
RECEIVER – Ryan Switzer, North Carolina, So., WR, 5-10, 180, Charleston, W.Va.
Switzer had nine receptions for a 136 yards – both career highs – with two touchdowns in UNC’s 48-43 win over Georgia Tech. It marked the second 100-yard receiving game of his career, joining his 118-yard effort versus Old Dominion in 2013. Switzer caught two touchdown passes in a game for the second time (also two against Old Dominion last year).
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Robert Welsh, Syracuse, Sr., DE, 6-3, 248, Bay Shore, N.Y.
Welsh scored one of Syracuse’s two defensive touchdowns in the Orange’s 30-7 victory at Wake Forest. He intercepted the second pass of his career and returned it 42 yards for a score to extend the SU lead to 17-7 with 5:05 to play in the opening half. Welsh led all SU defensive linemen with three tackles and tied his personal best with 2.0 tackles for loss. He also broke up a pass on Wake Forest’s first offensive series in addition to the interception to finish with a game-high two passes defended.
LINEBACKER – Terrance Smith, Florida State, Jr.-r, LB, 6-4, 222, Decatur, Ga.
Smith had a game-high 11 tackles, including a sack and two tackles for loss, in the Seminoles’ 31-27 come-from-behind victory over No. 5 Notre Dame on Saturday. Smith had seven tackles and both TFLs after halftime as he led a Seminole defense that held the Irish to just 42 yards rushing in the final two quarters. Smith’s six-yard sack on 3rd-and-12 with under two minutes remaining was one of the defensive highlights of the game. He currently leads the ACC in tackles per game (10.2).
DEFENSIVE BACK – Reggie Mitchell, Pitt, So.-r, CB, 6-0, 185, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Mitchell spearheaded a defensive effort that limited Virginia Tech to just 291 yards – 120 yards under its season average – in last Thursday’s 21-16 Panthers win. Mitchell collected a game-high 10 tackles (nine solo) and forced two fumbles, one of which came at the Virginia Tech 22-yard line and set up a touchdown that put Pitt up 14-3 late in the second quarter.
SPECIALIST – Ryan Winslow, Pitt, Fr.-r, P, 6-5, 210, Maple Glen, Pa.
Winslow significantly impacted the field position battle in Pitt’s win over Virginia Tech by dropping five of his seven punts inside the 15-yard line, including four inside the 10 (at the Hokies’ 1-, 5-, 6- and 9-yard line). He tied his career long with a 50-yard punt that placed the Hokies at their own 12-yard line and averaged 41.6 yards on seven punts for the game.
ROOKIE – AJ Long, Syracuse, Fr., QB, 5-11, 170, West Hills, Lebanon, Tenn.
Long became the first true freshman quarterback in Syracuse history to win his starting debut as he completed 22 of 32 passes for 171 yards and scored the first rushing touchdown of his career in the Orange’s 30-7 victory at Wake Forest. His 22 completions were the most in a game by an SU true freshman signal caller, eclipsing the previous mark of 18 set by Todd Norley vs. Maryland in 1982. Overall, Long became the fifth true freshman quarterback in school history to start a game.