Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino thought Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington, West Virginia was loud during the fourth-ranked Cardinals’ win over Marshall on Saturday night. However, Petrino knows the atmosphere on Saturday is nothing compared to what they will see next week when they face No. 3 Clemson in Death Valley.
Clemson Memorial Stadium doubles the size of Edwards Stadium and the 81,500 sit right on top of the field, making it one of the loudest stadiums in the country.
“We know next week is going to be real loud. It will be a great environment to go play in,” Petrino said in an interview on TheCrunchZone.com. “There is a lot at stake so I’m looking forward to the week of preparation.”
At stake is control of the ACC’s Atlantic Division. A win by the Cardinals (4-0, 1-0 ACC) and they can seize control of the division just two conference games in. That is thanks to their 63-20 beatdown of No. 12 Florida State a week ago in Louisville.
Now the Cardinals come to Death Valley looking to do the same to defending ACC Champion and third-ranked Clemson. And though they have not put up PlayStation like numbers like Louisville, the Tigers have been smothering their opponents with good ol’ physical defense.
“It is going to be a good one,” Louisville linebacker Keith Kelsey said following the Marshall game.
Kelsey does not have to face the Clemson defense, obviously, but he does have to go up against Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who has hiccupped at times through the first month of the season, but has seemingly started to get things going the last two weeks, along with the rest of the offense.
With the talent the Tigers (4-0, 1-0 ACC) have, plus what they did to Alabama in last year’s national championship game, they are more than talented enough to hang with Lamar Jackson and the Louisville offense.
But when asked was next week’s showdown in Death Valley the hardest game to this point in the season, Kelsey said, “I wouldn’t say hardest. I know what we can do as a team so I expect us to go out there and do the same thing we have been doing, just play hard.”
Kelsey also said next week’s visit to Death Valley is just another game to the Cardinals.
“We are not going to hype it up to be something bigger than what it is,” he said. “We are going to out there and treat them like the last three games, including tonight against Marshall. We are going to take it game by game and go out there and do what we have been doing.”
There is one thing that will be different about next week’s game for Louisville – the noise level. And if Kelsey does not think that is any different, then he just needs to ask his head coach.
–Photo Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports