Things to watch in the Atlantic Coast Conference in Week 3:
GAME OF THE WEEK: No. 3 Clemson at No. 14 Louisville. The league gets a marquee matchup in the Atlantic Division with reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson leading the Cardinals (2-0, 1-0) against the reigning national champion Tigers (2-0, 0-0). Jackson has racked up more than 1,000 yards of total offense in two games and accounted for six touchdowns in last weekend’s win at North Carolina. Meanwhile, the Tigers’ defense is coming off an 11-sack performance in a home win against Auburn. “He’s fun to watch,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said of Jackson, “but he’s not fun to prepare for.”
BEST MATCHUP: Central Michigan’s pass defense against Syracuse’s passing attack. While Clemson’s tussle with Jackson headlines the week, the Chippewas (2-0) lead the country with eight interceptions (six against Rhode Island in Week 1, two more against Kansas of the Big 12) entering their visit to the Orange. Central Michigan will get plenty of opportunities, too, considering Syracuse (1-1) ranks 25th nationally in passing offense (306.5 yards) and frequently puts the ball in the air (13th nationally with 96 attempts in two games).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Pittsburgh’s defense could be in for a long day Saturday against No. 9 Oklahoma State. Pitt surrendered 540 yards through the air — 296 went to James Washington alone — in last year’s 45-38 loss. And this year’s Panthers rank 125th out of 129 Bowl Subdivision teams by allowing 7.98 yards per completion. The Cowboys rank 18th nationally in passing offense (325 yards), while Washington ranks 11th nationally by averaging 121.5 yards per game.
LONG SHOT: Old Dominion is an eight-point underdog against North Carolina on Saturday, but the Tar Heels are struggling and off to their first 0-2 start since 2010. Old Dominion’s offense is averaging just 24 points per game, but the Monarchs have a home-field advantage against a defense that ranks among the nation’s worst in total defense (587.0 yards), scoring defense (41.0 points) and third-down defense (nearly 52 percent).
PLAYER TO WATCH: Duke QB Daniel Jones is just the second player in program history to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 in a game, and the Blue Devils’ second-year starter has a chance to keep putting up big numbers with winless Baylor and UNC ahead. Jones had 305 yards passing and 108 yards rushing in a 41-17 rout of Northwestern. “Most people that play quarterback like he does don’t run like he does,” coach David Cutcliffe said. “He’s been able to use that to his advantage.”
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