CORAL GABLES, Fla. — For everyone in the Atlantic Coast Conference, this weekend was the start of the season.
For plenty of big names, it was also the end.
Pittsburgh running back James Conner and Syracuse quarterback Terrel Hunt won't play again in 2015, Clemson receiver Mike Williams may have endured the same fate and Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Brewer told ESPN that he's going to have surgery Tuesday for a broken collarbone — meaning he'll have, at minimum, the next few weeks off.
Conference play hasn't even started, but the ACC's complexion changed big-time over the course of the opening weekend.
"Just a shame. ... Just vicious this early in the season," Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said.
That's what he told Cuse.com when talking about Hunt's torn Achilles' — but it essentially was the sentiment shared in plenty of places around the ACC, regarding a number of players.
When Hunt went down, the early sense was that it was bad.
When Conner went down, it seemed almost innocuous. Turns out, it was anything but, and the Panthers delivered the news Monday that he tore a knee ligament. It's possible that Conner — who broke Tony Dorsett's school record with 26 touchdowns last season — has played his last game for Pitt, since he would figure to be a strong NFL draft candidate.
"This is a temporary setback and I'm going to work even harder to bounce back," Conner said in a statement. "Even though I won't be able to play this season, I'm going to be right beside my teammates and help them every way I can to have a great season."
Brewer led Virginia Tech to a 17-14 halftime lead against No. 1 Ohio State on Monday night, then left after taking a clean hit from the Buckeyes' Adolphus Washington. Brewer immediately began writhing in pain and grabbed at the shoulder, then was walked into the locker room for examination which included an X-ray that told the story.
He eventually came back to the sideline, albeit with a huge ice pack and a sling. When he went down, the Hokies' upset chances soon vanished and Ohio State rolled to a 42-24 win. Brewer told ESPN sideline reporter Heather Cox that he would have surgery Tuesday, but did not indicate that his season is over.
"The team is going to rally around me," said the Hokies' Brenden Motley, who replaced Brewer. "We're still a great team."
Clemson isn't sure if Williams will return in 2015, after he broke a bone in his neck crashing into a goalpost. Surgery won't be required, but the Tigers don't have a timetable for how long it will take the bone to heal on its own. One good sign for the Tigers: Williams was the first one to report to the 6:30 a.m. receivers' meeting on Monday.
Among the other notable ACC injury developments, Virginia coach Mike London said offensive linemen Jake Fieler and Eric Tetlow had season-ending surgeries and Louisville wide receiver James Quick will miss at least one game — quite possibly more — with a right ankle injury.
Miami lost wide receivers Braxton Berrios and Stacy Coley on the opening series of the Hurricanes' win against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday. The Hurricanes (who lost running back Gus Edwards for the season because of foot injury during training camp) dodged major issues, however — while neither is expected to play against Florida Atlantic on Friday night, both are likely to return before long.
Berrios got hurt on a play where he tried to reach back for a ball thrown slightly behind him.
"When I threw the pass, I said ... I just got my best friend hurt,'" Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya said Monday. "I was feeling pretty bad, but now it's a sense of relief for me and the offense ... just glad it's not anything worse."
This article was written by Tim Reynolds from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.