Top Individual ACC Performances of Week 1

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Duke Blue Devils running back Mataeo Durant (21) runs up the middle chased by Charlotte 49ers defensive back Jonathan Alexander (1) during the second quarter at Jerry Richardson Stadium. Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

During the first week of college football, the Atlantic Coastal Conference had some ups and downs as far as team performances go. But there were a lot of notable ACC individual performances.

Some of these players started their season with a bang, whether it helped their team win the game or not. They may have even given their team everything necessary to win, but still came up short.

Ordering only by positions, these are 10 players who stood out in the first week of ACC football.

10 Important ACC Individual Performances

Brennan Armstrong, QB, Virginia

Though it came against an obviously lesser opponent, Brennan Armstrong and the Virginia a Cavaliers handled their business to begin their 2021 season.

Armstrong dominated en route to a 43-0 win over William & Mary, both through the air and with his legs. He completed 21-of-31 passes for a conference-high 339 yards and two touchdowns with no turnovers. He also capped off two other drives with rushing touchdowns.

Mataeo Durant, RB, Duke

Maybe the most eye-popping numbers of the week among ACC individual performances belonged to Mataeo Durant who set a school record for rushing yards in a game. With 255 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, all conference highs for the week, Durant may have been the only reason Duke wasn’t beaten down by Charlotte. He also caught two passes for 37 yards.

Last season, Durant ran for 104 yards and two scores against this same Charlotte team in a 53-19 win. This season, the Blue Devils needed every yard Durant could give them. This included two different go-ahead touchdown runs of more than 50 yards in the fourth quarter.

Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse

Another running back to put up big numbers was Sean Tucker from Syracuse. On 25 carries, Tucker rushed for 181 yards and a touchdown. The big day from Tucker helped the Orange to a 29-9 win over Ohio.

This is the highest rushing total for any Orangeman in a single game since quarterback Eric Dungey opened the 2018 season with 200 rushing yards. It is the highest single-game rushing total from a Syracuse running back since Tyson Gulley rushed for 213 yards in the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl against West Virginia.

Ricky Person Jr., RB, NC State

Of the running backs on this list, the one to make the biggest impact in the receiving game is Ricky Person Jr. He caught the first touchdown of the game, helping the Wolfpack get ahead early in an eventual 45-0 win over the USF Bulls. Person Jr. ended the game with three catches for 43 yards and a score to go along with 105 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

The NC State backfield was a force all game with 293 rushing yards. Most of that came from Person Jr. and Zonovan Knight, who also had a huge day. Knight had 163 rushing yards and a touchdown

Zay Flowers, WR, Boston College

Arguably the best returning receiver from the conference in 2020, Zay Flowers showed why he was a Preseason All-Conference player in the Boston College Eagle’s opening game. He and quarterback Phil Jurkovec connected seven times for 135 yards and a touchdown.

Jurkovec was also sensational during the Eagles’ 51-0 win over Colgate. He had 303 yards and three touchdowns through the air and also led the team in rushing with 61 yards on five carries.

TyJuan Garbutt, DL, Virginia Tech

Only two players across the conference recorded two sacks during the week. And only one of the did so against a Power Five opponent: TyJuan Garbutt. Through one game this season, Garbutt has now doubled his career sack total.

The junior defensive lineman also had five total tackles and a forced fumble in the Hokies’ upset win over the number 10 Tar Heels.

John Petrishen, LB, Pittsburgh

The second player who finished with two sacks was the Pittsburgh Panthers’ John Petrishen. The senior linebacker finished with six tackles and the two sacks in a 51-0 win over UMass.

Entering the game, the fifth-year senior only had 20 tackles and hadn’t recorded a sack.

James Skalski, LB, Clemson

It was no surprise the leader of the Clemson Tigers’ defense, James Skalski, led the conference in tackles with 14, eight of which were solo tackles.

The Tigers’ stout defense allowed just a field goal in a 10-3 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs. The only touchdown of the game coming on an interception returned for six points.

Chamarri Conner, DB, Virginia Tech

With all 14 ACC teams playing over the course of week one, there were 14 players who intercepted a pass. Chamarri Conner was one of them and also tied for the lead in the conference in tackles amongst those players. He finished with eight total tackles and an important interception.

His important play came in the biggest win for an ACC team during week one. Virginia Tech’s upset win over North Carolina may not have happed without the well-timed Conner interception. Even though it was close to being dropped, Conner’s interception also came at the most important point in the game. With 47 seconds left in the game and his team up 17-10, Conner was the third player to intercept a Sam Howell pass.

Lou Hedley, P, Miami

Maybe the only bright spot for the Miami Hurricanes during their 44-13 loss to Alabama came on the leg of Lou Hedley. With basically no offense and the defense constantly being beat, Hedley was steady.

With an offense struggling to move the ball, Hedley was called on quite a bit. He finished with five punts for 236 yards, an average of 47.2 yards. His long for the day was 54 yards.

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