A pair of Clemson players are being honored by the ACC for their play in Saturday night’s win at Virginia Tech:
Clemson senior defensive end Andre Branch and junior linebacker Tig Willard headline a list of eight players named as the ACC Football Players of the Week by the Atlantic Coast Conference on Monday. Branch compiled 11 tackles, five tackles for loss and three sacks, all career highs, in the 23-3 win at 11th-ranked Virginia Tech and was named the Defensive Lineman of the Week for his performance. Willard added nine tackles to pick up Linebacker of the Week honors, and both players were key in limiting Virginia Tech to just three points and 258 yards of total offense.
Duke and North Carolina both had two players recognized for their play in nonconference wins. Duke quarterback Sean Renfree threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-27 win over FIU and was named the Offensive Back of the Week. His teammate Laken Tomlinson grabbed Offensive Lineman of the Week. North Carolina’s Tim Scott (Defensive Back of the Week) and Giovani Bernard (Rookie of the Week) helped the Tar Heels to a 35-20 win at East Carolina.
Wake Forest’s Chris Givens earned Receiver of the Week honors for his 132-yard performance in a win at Boston College, and Georgia Tech’s Justin Moore was named Specialist of the Week for his efforts in a victory at NC State.
OFFENSIVE BACK – Sean Renfree, Duke, QB, Jr., 6-5, 225, Scottsdale, Az.
Renfree completed 28-of-43 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns and led Duke to a 31-27 come-from-behind road win over FIU. He directed two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to help erase a 10-point deficit in the final 12 minutes – the 12th largest second half rally in school history and largest since 1989. His 43 pass attempts without an interception marks the ninth-highest single-game total in school history, and he engineered a Duke offense that did not turn the ball over.
RECEIVER – Chris Givens, Wake Forest, WR, Jr., 6-0, 195, Wylie, Tx.
Givens caught seven passes for 132 yards and one touchdown in Wake Forest’s 27-19 win over Boston College on Saturday. Givens caught a 47-yard scoring pass from Tanner Price early in the third quarter. Givens also caught a 36-yard pass from flanker Michael Campanaro that set up Wake Forest’s final field goal. Givens made the catch despite triple coverage and a defensive pass interference call against BC. Givens’ 498 yards receiving through four games is the most-ever by a Wake Forest receiver through four games.
OFFENSIVE LINEMAN – Laken Tomlinson, Duke, G, Fr., 6-3, 310, Chicago, Ill.
Tomlinson was a key member of Duke’s offensive line that yielded zero sacks against an FIU defense that entered the game ranked fourth nationally in sacks per game (3.75). The offensive line successfully protected Renfree and opened holes for Juwan Thompson’s two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
DEFENSIVE LINEMAN – Andre Branch, Clemson, DE, Sr., 6-5, 260, Richmond, Va.
Branch had 11 tackles, three sacks and five total tackles for loss in Clemson’s victory over Virginia Tech last week. He led the team in all three areas and also had three quarterback pressures. His tackle total, sack total and tackles for loss total were all career highs. His five tackles for loss tied a Clemson record for tackles for loss in a game by a defensive lineman and was tied for second most by any player in Clemson history. Branch was a big reason Virginia Tech scored just three points. It was the first time since 1995 that Virginia Tech did not score a touchdown at home and tied for the largest margin of defeat for the Hokies at home in 20 years.
LINEBACKER – Tig Willard, Clemson, LB, Jr., 6-2, 220, Loris, S.C.
Willard had nine tackles, including seven first hits and a tackle for loss to key Clemson’s second line of defense in the Tigers 23-3 win at Virginia Tech. Willard was a big reason Clemson held Virginia Tech to just three points and just 258 yards of total offense. Clemson held Virginia Tech without a touchdown at home for the first time since 1995.
DEFENSIVE BACK – Tim Scott, North Carolina, CB, Fr., 5-11, 180, Fredericksburg, Va.
Cornerback Tim Scott tied for the team lead with nine tackles and intercepted a pass in the East Carolina red zone and broke up another pass in North Carolina’s 35-20 win at East Carolina. After the interception, the Tar Heels scored two plays later to take an early 7-0 lead.
ROOKIE – Giovani Bernard, North Carolina, TB, Fr., 5-10, 205, Davie, Fla.
Redshirt freshman tailback Giovani Bernard rushed for 146 yards on a career-high 24 carries and scored a touchdown in Carolina’s 35-20 win over ECU. He became the first UNC player to rush for 100 yards in three straight games since Natrone Means in 1992. Bernard had 102 vs. Virginia (Sept. 17) and 155 at Georgia Tech (Sept. 24). Bernard, the leading freshman rusher in the nation, is averaging 109.6 rushing yards and has 548 yards on 78 carries. Bernard had 113 of his 146 yards in the first half as Carolina built a 28-3 halftime lead. Bernard now has seven rushing touchdowns, which equals the total of last year’s leading rusher Johnny White.
SPECIALIST – Justin Moore, Georgia Tech, PK, So., 5-10, 171, Atlanta, Ga.
Moore made all six PATs, but it was his 40-yard field goal with 5:38 remaining that helped seal Georgia Tech’s 45-35 win over NC State Saturday.