QB, or Not QB: Major ACC signal-caller shakeups

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There’s been more tune-ups among the quarterback position in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season than discount day at Midas. Here’s the Sports Radio America rundown:

Clemson

The Clemson Tigers made a quarterback change ahead of their game against Syracuse. Trevor Lawrence has been named starter over Kelly Bryant, while Bryant will be involved in game play in some capacity. Lawrence, a true freshman and 5-star recruit, has thrown for 600 yards and nine touchdowns with only two interceptions. He lit up Georgia Tech on Saturday, completing 13 of 18 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns with an interception. Lawrence gives the Tigers’ offense life.

“He really played well,” head Coach Dabo Swinney said.  “It was certainly his best game. He was very poised, and I think the game has slowed down for him. He’s making good decisions, and he’s decisive with the ball.”

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech lost more than just the game on Saturday. After losing to Old Dominion, Hokies coach Justin Fuente announced quarterback Josh Jackson suffered a fractured left fibula. Jackson, a red-shirt sophomore, will undergo surgery this week. There’s no timetable for Jackson’s return. The coach acknowledged the injury could be season-ending. This a huge blow to one of the ACC’s top contenders.

The Hokies inserted Ryan Willis, a transfer from Kansas, into the game lineup. It was Willis’ second appearance as a Hokie, although he received plenty of playing time during his time at Kansas. Willis sat out the 2017 season after transferring. Before transferring, he was Kansas’ primary starter in 2015. Having experience playing in a Power 5 Conference will help. In 16 games at Kansas, Willis threw for 2,530 yards, 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

Miami

Head coach Mark Richt is keeping his starting quarterback against North Carolina on Thursday a secret. But, he couldn’t hide the fact N’Kosi Perry was working with the first-team offense on Monday. The red-shirt freshman took over for senior Malik Rosier against Florida International University on Saturday. Perry gave the Hurricanes a much-needed spark on offense against the Panthers. When he entered the game on Miami’s third series, he went for 17-of-25 passing for 224 yards with three touchdowns and one interception to his credit. He also rushed nine times for 32 yards.

“I am going to leave it at we will play the guy who has the best shot at winning,” Richt said. “I’m going to observe a little bit more of practice. I’ve got a pretty good idea, but I’m not 100 percent sure. I do a lot of things based on what my gut is telling me.”

Louisville

Louisville’s offense came out struggling Saturday against the Virginia Cavaliers, which has been the story all year. The Cardinals had just 32 passing yards in the first half. Malik Cunningham, who initially looked like the second coming of Lamar Jackson, was terrible. Coach Bobby Petrino went with Puma Pass in the second half, but things didn’t get a whole lot better. Puma was solid with 10/19 for 113 yards in one half, which is not bad. But, the Louisville offense needs to be better. Malik Cunningham was the leading rusher with 26 yards and he didn’t even play in the second half.

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