Countdown to kickoff: No. 4 Louisville at No. 3 Clemson

Sep 17, 2016; Louisville, KY, USA;  Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs the ball against the Florida State Seminoles during the second half at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Louisville defeated Florida State 63-20.  Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Third-ranked Clemson takes on No. 4 Louisville in just the second ever top 5 meeting in the history of Death Valley. The game will kick off at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast by ABC.

About Louisville: Louisville began the season ranked 19th in the preseason poll, but it has not taken Bobby Petrino’s team long to get into the top five thanks to a 63-20 victory over then No. 2 Florida State two weeks ago. The Cards are ranked third by the AP and fourth by the Coaches. They have been outstanding on both sides of the ball, ranking first in the nation in total offense and scoring offense and 13th in total defense, ninth in third down defense and 16th in tackles for loss.

Louisville’s offense: The leader of the offense is quarter­back Lamar Jackson who has 25 touchdowns in four games, 13 passing and 12 rushing. He ranks fifth in the nation in touch­down passes and first in the nation in rushing touchdowns. He is averaging 8.6 yards per rush, which is more than most quarterbacks average per pass. Wide receiver James Quick is averaging 90 yards receiving per game. Quick, Jaylen Smith and Jamani Staples all average over 20 yards per reception. Running back Brandon Radcliff is averaging 106.8 yards per game on the ground.

Louisville’s defense: Safety Josh Harvey Clemons leads the defense with 7.3 tackles per game, while James Hearn is 10th in the nation in sacks. The Cards are allowing just 278.0 yards per game overall, which ranks 13th in the country. The Cardinals are allowing just 156.2 yards per game through the air.

Records: Clemson 4-0, 1-0 ACC; Louisville 4-0, 2-0 ACC

Series record: Clemson leads 2-0

First meeting: Clemson won 23-17 in 2014

Last meeting: Clemson won 20-17 in 2015

Stat worth noting: In terms of point responsibility, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is averaging 37.5 points per game, best in the nation. All-time Louisville basketball great Darrell Griffith never averaged more than 23 points a game on the hard court. Jackson nearly became the first FBS player in history with 400 yards passing and 200 yards rushing in the same game when the Cards beat Syracuse in the second game of the year. He finished the game with 199 yard rushing.

Second stat worth noting: Clemson takes on another top 10 team this Saturday when Louisville, ranked third by the AP and fourth by USA Today Coaches, comes to Memorial Stadium. Clemson has had a lot of success against top 10 teams in the Dabo Swinney era. In fact, Clemson is 9-5 under Swinney against teams ranked in the top 10 of at least one of the polls. It is interesting to note that Swinney has not built up this record at home. Only two of the nine wins over a top 10 team have come at home. Five have been at neutral sites and two in opponent home stadiums.

Third stat worth noting: Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 292 yards and three scores in Clem­son’s win over Troy and followed that up with three more scores in the win over South Carolina State. He has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 20 consecutive games a school record. Tajh Boyd had a streak of 17 in a row between 2011 and 2013. Over the streak Watson has thrown at least three touchdown passes eight times.


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