Home Pitt’s Abanikanda, after big day in win over Virginia Tech, headlines ACC Football honorees

Pitt’s Abanikanda, after big day in win over Virginia Tech, headlines ACC Football honorees

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We have our ACC Football Players of the Week for Week 6, and no surprise, Pitt tailback Israel Abanikanda, who had a school-record 320 yards on the ground in the Panthers’ 45-29 win over Virginia Tech, is among this week’s top performers.

QUARTERBACK – Tyler Van Dyke, Miami, QB, Glastonbury, Conn.

Completed 42 of 57 passes for 496 yards in the Hurricanes’ 27-24 loss to North Carolina, setting the school record for completions and attempts • His 496 passing yards rank second only to Stephen Morris’ 566 against NC State in 2012, and his 42 completions are the most by an ACC quarterback since NC State’s Ryan Finley had 45 in 2017 • Threw scoring strikes to wide receiver Key’Shawn Smith (20 yards), running back Henry Parrish, Jr. (7 yards) and wide receiver Colbie Young (16 yards).

RUNNING BACK – Israel Abanikanda, Pitt, RB, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Had a historic day in earning ACC Running Back of the Week honors for the third time this season, rushing for 320 yards and six touchdowns on 36 carries in the Panthers’ 45-29 win over Virginia Tech • With the fourth-most rushing yards by a player in a game in ACC history, Abanikanda broke the legendary Tony Dorsett’s Pitt single-game rushing record of 303 yards set against Notre Dame on Nov. 15, 1975 • Abanikanda also tied the 122-year-old school record for rushing touchdowns in a game, initially set by Norman Budd against Ohio on Oct. 29, 1910 • Per ESPN Stats & Info, Abanikanda is the first Power 5/BCS player to top 300 rush yards with six rushing TDs in a game since Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams (Texas) in 1998 • Also named the Walter Camp National Player of the Week, Abanikanda rushed for 100+ yards for the fourth time this year.

RECEIVER – Kaleb Smith, Virginia Tech, WR, Louisa County, Va.

Set career highs for receptions (nine) and receiving yards (152) in the Hokies’ 45-29 loss at Pitt • Became the first Hokie in 10 games to rack up over 100 receiving yards in a game since Tré Turner did so at Georgia Tech on Oct. 30, 2021.

OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Marcus Minor, Pitt, OG, Lanham, Md.

Pitt’s highest-graded offensive lineman in the Panthers’ 45-29 win over Virginia Tech, helping pave the way for Israel Abanikanda’s historic rushing day (320 yards and six TDs) • Minor helped spring three of Abanikanda’s biggest runs while allowing zero quarterback pressures and zero sacks • The Panthers piled up 326 rushing yards and 170 through the air (496 total).

DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Xavier Thomas, Clemson, DE, Florence, S.C.

In his season debut for the Tigers, recorded a career-high-tying 2.0 sacks and forced a fumble in Clemson’s 31-3 win at Boston College • Earned the Leather Helmet Award from the Boston College Gridiron Club as the game’s MVP, collecting the honor despite a limited snap count in his return to action from a foot injury suffered in preseason camp.

LINEBACKER – Drake Thomas, NC State, LB, Wake Forest, N.C.

Led a staunch Wolfpack defense with 14 stops in NC State’s 19-17 win over Florida State • Tallied two tackles for loss, broke up two passes and added a quarterback pressure • The Seminoles entered the contest averaging 34.2 points per game but scored just 17 (all in the first half) • Thomas and the Wolfpack defense limited FSU to 93 yards in the second half

DEFENSIVE BACK – DeAndre Boykins, North Carolina, DB, Concord, N.C.

Notched the game-saving interception for the Tar Heels with 10 seconds remaining in Saturday’s 27-24 win at Miami with the Hurricanes driving to potentially tie the game or take the lead • Added a sack and four tackles to help UNC move to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play.

SPECIALIST – Christopher Dunn, NC State, PK, Lexington, N.C.

Connected on four field goals in the Wolfpack’s 19-17 win over Florida State • Tied his career high for made field goals in a game • Kicks were from 38, 30, 53 and 27 yards •- The 53-yarder tied his career long • Scored the Wolfpack’s last nine points of the game.

ROOKIE – Drake Maye, North Carolina, QB, Huntersville, N.C.

Completed 19 of 28 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns in the Tar Heels’ 27-24 road win at Miami • Added 53 rushing yards to compile 362 total yards on the night • Voted ACC Rookie of the Week for the fourth time this season.



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