On the off chance you haven’t overdosed on advance coverage, here are some 11th-hour morsels about tonight’s
championship game here in Charlotte.
* The Tigers sacked Logan Thomas four times in the teams’ regular-season meeting -- All-ACC defensive end Andre Branch, a graduate of Varina High near Richmond, had three. But the
have allowed only six sacks combined in seven subsequent outings.
“You don't want to get in third-and-long,” Tech coach
said Friday. “A couple of sacks came at the end of the ballgame, and they're laying ears back, and you don't want to get in that situation against these guys.
“But our offensive line, I do think we've got a lot of experience in there and they played very well. … I think they've improved, and I think Logan has improved. I think he's learned from situations. He gets rid of the ball. … So I think it's a combination of our offensive line and Logan and protection.”
Hokies tackle Blake DeChristopher won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy awarded to the ACC's top offensive lineman, and guard Jaymes Brooks earned second-team all-conference honors.
* Yet more evidence of Thomas’ emergence: After five games, his pass efficiency was 107.48. In the last seven games, it’s 159.29.
* Virginia Tech’s (11) and Clemson’s (9) combined 20 victories match the most in an ACC championship game. The Hokies and
were 10-2 entering their 2007 encounter in Jacksonville.
* Tech’s David Wilson is the third ACC back to rush for 100-plus yards 10 times in a season. The others are the Hokies’ Ryan Williams in 2009 and
’s Don McCauley in 1970.
Wilson’s a safe bet to break the record either tonight or in Tech’s bowl. He ran for 123 yards on 20 carries against Clemson in October.
“He's as good a player as there is in the country,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said of Wilson. “I don't know how much he's talked about nationally from a media standpoint, but he is a great football player, very, very dangerous in all aspects, tough, hard-nosed runner, and he's got speed.”
The Tigers allowed six 100-yard rushers this season, three of them quarterbacks:
’s Tevin Washington and South Carolina’s Connor Shaw.
Bodes well for Thomas.
* Tech seniors Jarrett Boykin (2,796) and Danny Coale (2,530) have combined for more career receiving yards (5,326) than any tandem in ACC history.
seniors Conner Vernon and Donovan Varner are next at 5,171.
* Hiccups are inevitable for young quarterbacks, Clemson sophomore and first-team All-ACC Tajh Boyd included.
“He's a really good player, and right now he's just in a little bit of a slump,” Swinney said. “Well, I'm not naïve enough to think that you're going to have a first-year quarterback and it's all going to go perfect for him. I tried the best I could to prepare him for that. He got off to such a phenomenal start. In fact, I think he's already set the school record for touchdowns in a season his first-ever year of starting so he's had a lot of success.
“You know, at Clemson when you have that kind of success, there's a lot of ‘atta boys’ that come with it, and all of a sudden then you start having some not-so-good performances, and you get that added pressure, and when you're a young player sometimes you don't handle it quite like you need to.”
A Phoebus High graduate, Boyd threw 24 touchdown passes and only three interceptions as the Tigers opened 8-0. In their last four games, he has four touchdowns and seven picks.
Not coincidentally, Clemson lost three of those four.
* Happy Championship Saturday, y’all. Time to settle back with the clicker and check out the football, plus Kentucky-North Carolina basketball.
Talk at ya from the press box later this afternoon on Twitter.