Wolfpack Getting Solid QB Play from Freshman MJ Morris

Ken Cross

November 09, 2022 at 8:43 am.

The “ACC Fab Five” takes the previous Saturday’s ACC outings and reviews the top five games. There is no order, nor does the perspective ACC team have to win a non-conference game. If there is a loss in a non-conference affair, the team we mention must have threatened to win the game, but took the ‘L’.


NC State head coach Dave Doeren has found an effective freshman QB in MJ Morris as the Wolfpack could be on the verge of a 10-win season. They can pick up a solid bowl bid with wins vs. Boston College and with road trips to Louisville and North Carolina.

Both the Cardinals and the Tar Heels are looking for the same fate with three season-ending wins.

North Carolina’s lone loss is against Notre Dame as freshman quarterback Drake Maye continues to be impressive as he has led the Tar Heels to three wins by three points each in their last four outings.

Here is a really solid ACC “Fab Five” which depicts several stalwarts in Saturday’s action:


@NC State 30, Wake Forest 21 – Morris is a new ACC star as he threw three touchdown passes and the Wolfpack secondary picked off Wake Forest QB Sam Hartman three times in picking up the win on Saturday evening.

The Wolfpack led 17-14 at halftime, but Cyrus Fagan and Aydan White picked off Hartman on successive drives in the second half as the Wolfpack turned these into 10 points.

Morris finished 18-of-28 for 210 yards as the true freshman showed his many variables in getting outside the pocket and being able to keep the football, as well as his role to find open Wolfpack receivers or backs.

Morris threw two of his touchdown passes to Darryl Jones and also hit Keyon Lessen with a 12-yard TD toss in the second quarter to give NCSU a 10-7 lead at some 7:39 before halftime.

Hartman had a solid passing evening except for those three interceptions as he completed 29 of 48 passes for 397 yards and two touchdowns.

“The way these kids fought, practiced, the way the defense kept us in the game, and the way MJ got his jitters out and came flying in in the second quarter; that was a team win,” said Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren.

@Notre Dame 35, Clemson 14 – A volume of college football aficionados thought the Tigers were overrated with a No. 4 seed in last week’s CFP poll. Their analyses were correct as the Fighting Irish set the tone with a blocked punt for a touchdown in the first quarter. 

Benjamin Morrison had a 96-yard interception return early in the fourth quarter for the Fighting Irish which gave them a 28-0 lead.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney pulled quarterback DJ Uiagalelei once again, but this time it was detrimental as Morrison intercepted backup Cade Klubnik on the 14-yard line. Auric Estime solidified the pick as he ended the Irish drive with a two-yard touchdown run.

Logan Diggs and Estime had 114 and 104 yards on the ground respectively as Notre Dame’s rushing attack dominated the game.

“I always tell our team you get what you earn, and we earned this tonight for sure,” said Swinney. “Momentum is tough in a game like this and we lost momentum right out of the gate with a blocked punt touchdown.”

Florida State 45, @Miami 3 – The Seminoles ruled the Hurricanes from the outset of this game in Hard Rock Stadium. FSU running back Trey Benson scored his two touchdowns in the second quarter which gave FSU a 31-3 lead at halftime and Jordan Travis threw three touchdown passes. 

Miami again played one of its worst games in many years as the Hurricanes were outgained 454-188. Florida State had one of the most balanced offenses this season with 225 yards rushing and 229 yards through the air by Travis.

Travis hit Ontaria Wilson on a 56-yard touchdown pass just 1:38 into the game and the Seminoles were never threatened.

The Hurricanes had only 62 yards passing as starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke was once again injured in the second quarter.

Miami has lost four in a row at home for the first time since 1973.

“Guys were playing fast; they were playing physical and they just continued to respond, even when they were back on the goal line,” said Seminoles head coach Mike Norvell of Florida State’s defensive effort.

@North Carolina 31, Virginia 28 – The Cavaliers potentially played their best overtime game of the season, but it was Carolina quarterback Drake Maye, who once again came to the Tar Heels’ rescue. 

Maye led the Heels on three touchdown drives to start the second half as North Carolina was able to erase a 14-10 halftime deficit. He completed 26 of 37 passes for 293 yards and carried 16 times for 74 yards and threw two TD passes, as well as hitting paydirt once on his own rush.

North Carolina scored on a 4-yard run by Elijah Green, while Maye hit Josh Downs with a 19-yard touchdown pass and then Green scored on a 22-yard toss from Maye to end those three drives.

The Tar Heels are 5-0 on the road for the first time since the 1997 season.

The Cavaliers were without wide receivers Keytaon Thompson, wide receivers Dontayvion Wicks and Lavel Davis, Jr. Despite the losses, Virginia had production from freshman skill players in tight end Sackett Wood, Jr., wide receiver Sean Wilson and running back Xavier Brown.

Ronnie Walker, Jr., returned to the offensive backfield as he was injured back in the spring. Brown and Walker both scored touchdowns, while Wood had six catches for 94 yards.

“He (Maye) just continues to amaze me with the things he does,” said UNC head coach Mack Brown. “In fact, when he has an incompletion, we all say, ‘What’s wrong?’ because he is doing that well.”

@Louisville 34, James Madison 10 – This was an impressive win for the Cardinals as JMU is in its first FBS season in the Sun Belt, and the Dukes have done plenty of damage on their own.  

Louisville trailed, 10-7, just 1:43 before halftime, but scored on five of the next six drives. Quarterback Malik Cunningham hit Tyler Hudson on a 44-yard touchdown pass and also capped an eight-play drive on an 11-yard TD throw to Ahmari Huggins-Bruce as Louisville dominated the second half.

The Cardinals’ offense was a picture of balance as well with 233 yards rushing and 244 passing yards as Cunningham completed 14 of 20 passes.

Running back Tiyon Evans had 10 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown.

It was the Cardinals’ fourth win in a row as they have won those four games by a combined average of 20.5 points per game.

“I think the biggest difference was we kept sticking to the game plan and we started to pop some runs on them and then mixed in some throws,” said Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield.