SEC Wins Battles Over ACC in Weekend Rivalries

Ken Cross

November 29, 2022 at 9:58 am.

Almost every season, the SEC proves itself to be college football’s top league, but it has dropped rivalry games in the Thanksgiving SEC-ACC rivalries in the not-so-distant past.

Florida State with its win over Florida became the only ACC winner in the league rivalries this past weekend, as South Carolina toppled Clemson for the first time in seven years, while Georgia pulled away from Georgia Tech and Kentucky was dominant in its win over Louisville.

Probably the top rivalry matchup inside the ACC this past weekend was NC State’s double overtime win at North Carolina.

The “Fab Fives” for the 2022 season are now complete as the ACC Championship Game sees Clemson and North Carolina playing at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Saturday evening.


@Florida State 45, Florida 38 – Florida had a tough time stopping the FSU running attack as the Seminoles used Trey Benson’s 111 yards on 20 carries with three touchdowns to snag the win. 

Benson was the primary player in Florida State’s trek to a 9-3 season as he put FSU ahead, 31-24, midway through the third quarter with a one-yard run.

Then, after a Gators’ rally tied the game at 38-38 when Trevor Etienne scored on a 45-yard run with 7:41 to play, FSU put together a seven-play, 65-yard drive that Benson capped with a 17-yard touchdown run.

The win was the Seminoles’ fifth consecutive win as this was its best season since 2016 when they defeated the Gators, 31-13, and then knocked off Michigan, 33-32, in the Orange Bowl.

“We get to go compete to try to get our 10th win,” said Florida State head coach Mike Norvell. “We can talk about it now because we’ve done the things necessary.”

NC State 30, @North Carolina 27 – Wolfpack kicker Christopher Dunn hit a 21-yard field goal in the second overtime as NC State upset the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. 

It was another tough evening for Carolina QB Drake Maye, who threw for 233 yards as he completed 29 of 49 passes. He was clutch as he hit Antoine Green with a 4-yard touchdown pass as time expired to tie the game at 24-24 and force the overtime periods.

Quarterback Ben Finley had a pair of touchdown passes after an early 2-yard touchdown run by Jack Chambers as the ‘Pack controlled most of the game.

“Our guys are just resilient,” said Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren. “They have got a lot of grit and heart and they just find a way to win.”

South Carolina 31, @ No. 8 Clemson 30 – The Gamecocks defeated

No. 5 Tennessee last week and then turned the tables on the Tigers after surviving some early miscues that put them in a position to lose. 

South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler threw for 360 yards with two touchdown passes, but the two Clemson interceptions were tough to overcome.

Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter returned an interception 35 yards early in the first quarter as the Tigers took a 7-0 lead. Then, after a 65-yard pass to Juju McDowell was stopped and marked down on the one-yard line, Rattler was picked off by Jaylen Williams in the end zone.

South Carolina then had to manufacture the win as the Gamecocks fell behind by nine points at halftime and then, 30-21, on a Will Shipley touchdown run late in the third quarter.

Rattler hit Antwane Wells, Jr. with a 72-yard touchdown pass before kicker Mitch Jeter hit a 35-yard field goal to win the game with 4:06 remaining.

“Field position was bad most of the day,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney. “Turnovers caught up with us today. Incredibly frustrating, so many opportunities.”

@ No. 1 Georgia 37, Georgia Tech 14 – The Bulldogs struggled early in a mismatch with the rival Yellow Jackets as Georgia led only 10-7 at halftime. 

However, Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton blew the game open early in the fourth quarter with touchdown runs of two yards and 44 yards, respectively, as the Bulldogs took a 37-7 lead with 11:13 remaining in the game.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett threw two touchdown passes for the Bulldogs as his five-yard toss in the second quarter to Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint gave Georgia the lead for good at 10-7. He also hit Brock Bowers with a one-yard scoring toss midway through the third quarter to give the Bulldogs a 20-7 advantage.

Georgia Tech came into the game at 5-6 after upsetting North Carolina last week. However, the bowl ramifications fell through for the Jackets as Georgia stonewalled them with the defense all afternoon, holding them to 255 total yards.

“Georgia Tech ran a lot – credit to their staff,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “The staff has changed over and then worked really hard this year at putting game plans together and you can tell they’ve done a lot of work. They did a good job defensively and a good job offensively with a game plan.”

@Kentucky 26, Louisville 13 – Wildcats’ QB Will Levis threw touchdown passes to Dane Key and Barion Brow, while Matt Ruffolo kicked four field goals as Kentucky passed the Cardinals.  

Louisville had three turnovers which included struggling at quarterback as a Malik Cunningham interception and a fumble by Brock Domann were tough for the Cardinals as Kentucky cashed in 10 points on these miscues. Cunningham was still struggling with a shoulder injury that he had suffered three weeks ago in the win over James Madison.

Kentucky’s defense held Louisville to only 309 total yards, while the ‘Cats could only pick up 346 themselves.

Running back Jawher Jordan was Louisville’s leading rusher as he picked up 145 yards on 22 carries and finished the season with 700 yards rushing on 133 attempts.

“Offensively, we couldn’t get any rhythm,” said Cardinals coach Scott Satterfield. “They had the ball most of the night. It was just one of those nights.”