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Baseball, softball begin regional play today





Sports today for Oct.4,2012 / October 03, 2012
Comet Jeremy Jeffress: Jeffress, who struggled recently in a pair of appearances against Cleveland for Kansas City, helped the Royals establish a significant team mark.

Jeffress fanned Cleveland’s Brent Lillibridge in the eighth inning last Sunday, giving the Royals staff a season total of 1,154 strikeouts, a new club record. The Royals bullpen led all American League bullpens with 526 strikeouts heading into Monday’s action.

ACC FOOTBALL UPDATE: Catching up with the Atlantic Coast Conference football race:

As October arrives, we have one of the most significant weeks of the season. Is Virginia Tech, the preseason favorite to win the Coastal Division, sliding towards mediocrity? What do we make of Virginia, losers of three straight? Can N.C. State bounce back and pull the upset against no. 3 Florida State in Raleigh Saturday night?

Miami faces ninth ranked Notre Dame in Chicago. Can the Irish, soon to be playing a regular diet of ACC teams in football, stay in the hunt for a potential national title or BCS bowl appearance?

Here’s the rest of the slate for week six: Boston College (1-3) at Army (0-4); Georgia Tech (2-3) at no. 15 Clemson (4-1); Wake Forest (3-2) at Maryland (2-2).

Breaking down the weekend:

Arguably, the most important game of the ACC is the FSU-NCSU matchup. If N.C. State, which got burned at Miami on a signature late defensive collapse, manages to ambush Florida State, it could cost the conference a shot in the BCS national title game in January.

But this matchup doesn’t look all that promising for the Wolfpack, which is coming off a school record mark with 674 yards of total offense at Miami.

The Noles, who go to Miami on Oct. 20, may well be on cruise control otherwise until the showdown with SEC strongman Florida on Nov. 24, and that rivalry showdown is in Tallahassee this year.

14 represents the number of team categories in which FSU ranks among the top ten nationally in the NCAA FBS statistics. FSU (5-0, 2-0 ACC) is fifth in rushing defense, fourth in pass efficiency defense and pass defense and third in total defense and seventh in scoring defense, just to name a few categories.

N.C. State is 97th in passing defense, allowing 278.60 yards per game, which is a shocking statistic in that the defensive secondary was expected to be a strength of the team. Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel leads the ACC in passing efficiency (176.7) and in pass completion percentage (.733). Miami junior quarterback set ACC single-game records for most passing yards and most yards of total offense in the ‘Canes 44-37 win over the Wolfpack last Saturday.

Florida State has four wins in the the last five series meetings with the Wolfpack, including a 34-0 win at Tallahassee last year.

N.C. State (3-2, 0-1 ACC) has won three of the last five meetings between these teams in Raleigh, but the Wolfpack have underachieved.

Morris shredded State for 566 passing yards, including 271 in in the first quarter alone.

FSU is stronger on the ground game, with the eighth best rushing offense in the country. FSU is 32nd nationwide in passing offense.

Will the Old Dominion suffer through another winless ACC weekend?

Virginia clearly faces a nearly must-win situation, or the 2012 campaign could turn sour in a hurry.

Duke coach David Cutcliffe said, “I am sure there is some frustration for them at this point, but I have great respect for their ability and their coaching, so this is a huge challenge, and we need a bunch of Blue Devil fan help. “The atmosphere at Wallace Wade certainly needs to be heavily in our favor.”

Virginia had not said whether Michael Rocco or Philip Sims would start at quarterback. Cutcliffe said Virginia presents a lot of problems regardless of who the quarterback is Saturday.

“They are not going to change. They are really versatile offensively; they have a lot of skill people, the backs are really good, the tight ends are good, and their offensive line is gigantic. Both quarterbacks have played well. Rocco has played well. He had a hard bump in the road, and we all have had guys throw some interceptions, so whatever way it goes it is going to be very similar, and we are going to have to play really well defensively with these guys because they have so many weapons and have a very good scheme,” Cutcliffe said.

Virginia Tech’s season could become a major disappointment if the Hokies don’t soon produce a turnaround.

UNC coach Larry Fedora, planning to play Virginia Tech in Chapel Hill after the Hokies’ bitter loss to Cincinnati, said, “I’m sure they are going to probably refocus on what they’re doing and pay more attention to the details so they can come out and play hard. They know what it takes. Coach (Frank) Beamer has been there a long time, so it’s not like a lot (is) going to change. They will probably refocus, play hard and do what they are supposed to do.”

Notre Dame (4-0) gets a serious test from the ‘Canes, 4-1, 3-0 ACC. Wake Forest can get back on track at Maryland, although the Terps rank eighth nationally this week in total defense, and 11th nationally in rushing defense.

GOLF NOTE: Sarah Bane Williams and her husband, Terrell, served as course marshals on hole no. 2 last weekend for the Ryder Cup at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. The Williams couple had some family connections that paved the way for this assignment.

The Richmond couple “had a blast”, according to a family source, getting an up close view of the dramatic Ryder Cup competition between Team USA and Europe.

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