What we learned from Week 3 in the ACC

Some observations from the ACC on Saturday:

1. Thomas passes test

Virginia Tech struggled to run the ball against East Carolina and needed senior quarterback Logan Thomas to have an effective day throwing the ball. Thomas responded.

He threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns in a 15-10 win. ECU made it a priority to stop the run and did so, holding the Hokies to 53 rushing yards. Basically, the Pirates wanted to make Thomas beat them with his arm -- and he did.

Thomas completed 10 third-down passes, and eight of them resulted in a first down.

"The passing game felt good to me," Thomas told reporters. "We had a lot of things open. At times, with a little bit more time, we'd have had more explosive plays. But we're putting things together and getting better every week, and I can't complain about that. We put up a decent amount of offense. We just need to put up more points."

The Hokies' defense performed admirably, holding ECU to 204 total yards, including just 158 through the air. ECU gained only 30 yards in the second half.

Thomas' 25 completions went to seven different receivers. One reason he has to spread the ball around is that there is no established go-to receiver. And on a day when Virginia Tech couldn't run, the much-maligned Thomas -- who has all the needed physical tools but has mechanical issues and frequently comes up short in big games -- did come through, which is an encouraging sign.

2. Young and in charge

Two true freshmen had big games as Pitt whipped New Mexico. RB John Conner (6-foot-2, 230 pounds) rushed for 119 yards and two TDs on 12 carries, and WR Tyler Boyd had six receptions for 134 yards and a TD in a 49-27 win. Conner, who was a defensive lineman as a high school junior, showed off his toughness and his speed, rumbling for 38 yards on one carry. Boyd (6-2, 185) caught a 34-yard TD pass and also had a 51-yard reception; he has exceptional quickness and already runs crisp routes. He and senior WR Devin Street (6-4, 195) should end up forming one of the best receiving duos in the league. New Mexico, as it should've been, was worried about Street, but if Boyd keeps producing at this rate, it should open things up for Street -- going into the season, considered one of the best five receivers in the league -- and for Pitt's deep group of tight ends.

3. Big game goes for naught

Wake Forest senior Michael Campanaro showed why he is one of the best receivers in the league, catching 16 passes for 177 yards. But his performance wasn't enough to keep Wake from losing to Louisiana-Monroe. Wake rushed for only 15 yards on 15 carries.

Campanaro (5-11, 190) should graduate with numerous Wake receiving records, breaking a few of Ricky Proehl's marks in the process. Campanaro is comfortable working from the slot or lining up outside, as he showed against ULM. He seems to be a likely third-day pick in the 2014 draft.

4. What can Brown do for Terps?

Granted, Maryland (3-0) hasn't beaten anyone of note this season. But senior QB C.J. Brown (6-3, 210) has been excellent thus far. He won the quarterback job last season, but he suffered a torn ACL in fall camp and missed the season. This season, there was no question the job was his, and Saturday he threw for 277 yards and a TD (to star WR Stefon Diggs) and also rushed for 122 yards and a score in a victory over Connecticut. That gives Brown six passing TDs and five rushing TDs this season. He has thrown for 833 yards and rushed for another 257. While Brown is a senior, he already has been granted a sixth season of eligibility, should he want it, by the NCAA. We should know more about Brown and Maryland after the Terps' next two games -- next week vs. West Virginia and Oct. 5 at Florida State.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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