GameDay Blog: Clemson 42, Louisville 36


Clemson kneeled the ball and ran out the clock to finish off a 42-36 victory. Watson went 20-of-31 for 306 with five touchdowns and three interceptions, as well as two fumbles. Gallman ran 16 times for 110 yards and a touchdown. Mike Williams had five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown, while Deon Cain had four receptions for 98 yards and two scores. Clemson’s defense notched five sacks and 10 tackles for loss. Lamar Jackson finished 27-of-44 passing for 295 yards with one touchdown and one pick. Overall, Louisville outgained Clemson in total yards, 568-507.


Clemson sealed the game with a mammoth stop by the Tigers’ defense at the goal line. On fourth-and-12 from Clemson’s 14-yard line, Jackson completed a pass to James Quick. But in a one-on-one situation, Marcus Edmond came up with the biggest tackle of the night, stopping Quick short of the sticks to force a turnover on downs.


Watson then led one of the biggest drives of his career to help Clemson retake the lead. On first-and-10 from Louisville’s 31-yard line, Watson hit Jordan Leggett on a drag route and the senior tight end did the rest, racing 31 yards into the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. This time, Clemson successfully converted a two-point conversion on a 2-yard toss from Watson to Leggett. Clemson 42, Louisville 36, 3:14


The Cardinals received the kickoff, and Clemson forced forced them to punt for the first time in the second half. Louisville 36, Clemson 34, 6:11 4th


After the score, Artavis Scott re-energized Clemson and its crowd with a 77-yard kickoff return to Louisville’s 23-yard line. Two plays later, Watson hooked up with Mike Williams across the middle for a touchdown. Clemson attempted a two-point conversion but was unsuccessful. Louisville 36, Clemson 34, 7:05 4th


Louisville forced a three-and-out on Clemson’s ensuing possession before taking a 36-28 lead on an 11-yard touchdown run by Jackson with 7:52 left in the contest. The Cardinals needed just four plays and 1:49 to drive 56 yards for the score.


Louisville took its first lead of the game since late in the first half on a 28-yard field goal from Creque early in the fourth quarter. Creque concluded an eight-play, 62-yard drive that lasted 3:42. Louisville 29, Clemson 28, 10:23 4th


A critical fumble by Jordan Leggett in the red zone ultimately resulted in a touchdown by Louisville that made the score 28-26 entering the fourth quarter. Jaire Alexander forced Leggett to fumble following a catch at Louisville’s 5-yard line, and the Cardinals marched 77 yards for a touchdown in seven plays and 2:42. Jackson found the end zone on a rush from 1 yard out.


Louisville scored again on its next drive, this time courtesy of a 21-yard field goal from Blanton Creque. Ben Boulware came up with a big stop on third-and-goal, stuffing a Jackson rushing attempt and forcing the Cardinals to settle for three points. Clemson 28, Louisville 19 5:21 3rd


After Clemson turned the ball over on its first possession of the second half, Louisville took over and quickly scored a touchdown to cut the deficit to 28-16 (Louisville’s PAT was blocked). Jackson found James Quick for an 8-yard scoring pass that capped a seven-play, 36-yard drive.


Clemson scores 28-second quarter points to take a 28-10 lead at the half.


Wayne Gallman raced 24 yards for a touchdown with 6:09 to play in the second quarter to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead. The touchdown capped a one-play, 38-yard drive.


Ben Boulware recovered a fumble, and Deshaun Watson and the Clemson offense needed two plays to convert on the Louisville mistake as he found Deon Cain behind the Cardinals’ secondary for a 33-yard touchdown pass.

With 7:48 to play in the second quarter, the game is tied.

The drive covered 45 yards in 20 seconds.


Louisville’s Jeremy Smith scores from two yards out to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead with 14:18 to play in the second quarter.

Smith scored on third-and-goal after a 28-yard pass to tight end Cole Hikutini on a third-and-two play from the Clemson 29. The drive covered 82 yards in 11 plays and took 4:09 off the clock.


After one quarter there is no score, but Louisville is at the one-yard line to start the second quarter.


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

Injury update: Clemson: Adrian Baker, DB, Knee, out; Austin Bryant, DE, foot, out; Jalen Williams, LB, Knee, Out; Hunter Renfrow, WR, Hand, out; Adrien Dunn, WR, knee, out; Denzel Johnson, DB, hamstring, out.

Clemson Starts 4-0

Clemson has started 4-0 for the fourth time in the last six years under Head Coach Dabo Swinney. The Tigers started 8-0 in 2011, 6-0 in 2013 and 14-0 last year. It is the fourth start of at least 4-0 since Swinney became head coach on a full time basis for the 2009 season. Clemson had just five starts of 4-0 or better in the 50 seasons before he took over.

Swinney has now tied Frank Howard for the most starts of at least 4-0 by a Clemson head coach. Howard started at least 4-0 in 1940 (5-0), 1941 (4-0), 1948 (11-0 final record) and 1958 (4-0). Danny Ford and Josh Cody did it three times apiece, Tommy Bowden twice and John Heisman once.

Swinney 9-5 vs. Top 10 Teams

Clemson takes on another top 10 team this Saturday when Louisville, ranked third by 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.

Clemson Defense Outstanding vs. Georgia Tech

Clemson had one of its best team defensive efforts in decades in the 26-7 win over Georgia Tech on Thursday, September 22. Clemson held Paul Johnson’s team to 124 yards of total offense and just seven points. That included just 95 yards rushing and 29 yards passing. The Yellow Jackets completed just 4-14 passes and had -3 yards passing in the first half.

The 124 yards by Georgia Tech was the fewest for a Paul Johnson coached team. He came to Tech at the beginning of the 2008 season. The 95 yards rushing tied for the third fewest by Tech on the ground under Johnson. The fewest is 71 yards against Clemson in 2015. So two of the top four rush defenses against Johnson coached team have come against Clemson each of the last two years.

Additionally, Clemson held Tech to 2.38 yards per play, the only game Tech has failed to average at least three yards a carry in the Johnson era.

Clemson 4-game Numbers on Offense Improved Compared to Last Year

Clemson is off to a 4-0 start and the Tigers offensive statistics are basically the same or even better than the numbers the team had through four games a year ago. A look to the chart below shows that Clemson has scored the exact same amount of points this year through four games. This years team has 10 more first downs, has averaged 47 more yards of total offense is averaging the exact same yards per play, has a better third down conversion figure and has a better scoring margin.

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