REENSBORO, N.C. – Two North Carolina honorees lead a group of nine student-athletes recognized as Atlantic Coast Conference Football Players of the Week, as announced by the conference on Monday. Running back/punt returner Giovani Bernard was honored as ACC Specialist of the Week, while guard Jonathan Cooper earned Offensive Lineman of the Week honors following the Tar Heels’ dramatic 43-35 ACC win over NC State on Saturday.
Bernard had 304 all-purpose yards and scored three touchdowns, capping his big day with a 74-yard touchdown return for a touchdown that snapped a 35-all tie with 13 seconds remaining and lifted the Tar Heels to their first win over the rival Wolfpack since 2006.
Cooper played 85 snaps, posted 18 knockdown blocks and graded out at 90 percent as the Tar Heels recorded 570 yards of offense in earning his second ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honor this season. The weekly honor is also the second of the season for Bernard, who was also named the ACC Offensive Back of the Week on Oct. 8.
Clemson, Florida State and Maryland joined North Carolina in seeing two players from their squads receive weekly honors, and one player was honored from NC State.
Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was named Offensive Back of the Week after throwing for a school-record 428 yards and five touchdowns in the Tigers’ 42-13 win over Wake Forest. The Tigers’ Sammy Watkins, who hauled in eight of Boyd’s passes for a school-record 202 yards and one touchdown, received ACC Receiver of the Week honors.
Florida State’s Christian Jones earned Linebacker of the Week honors after making 11 tackles, including eight solo stops and four tackles for loss as the Seminoles limited Duke to a season-low 232 yards in a 48-7 victory. Freshman cornerback Ronald Darby was named the Co-Defensive Back of the Week after playing a key role in a stout Florida State pass defense that limited the Blue Devils to just 129 yards through the air.
ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week Joe Vellano of Maryland was part of an effort that limited Boston College to just eight net rushing yards in the Terps’ 20-17 loss. Vellano recorded 2.5 sacks that resulted in 22 net yards of lost yardage. Terrapin WR Stefon Diggs was named ACC Rookie of the Week for the third time and picked up his fourth overall weekly honor after posting career highs with 11 catches for 152 yards.
NC State cornerback C.J. Wilson earned Co-Defensive Back of the Week honors after coming up with two turnovers in the Wolfpack’s road loss to North Carolina.