It would not be a Louisville-Clemson game if the game did not come down to a last-second defensive stop by the Tigers’ defense.
Facing fourth-and-12 from the Clemson 15 with 40 seconds left in the game, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson found Mike Quick open in the flats, made a move towards the first-down marker, but Marcus Edmonds found a way to make a better play, pushing the Cardinals’ wide receiver out of bounds a yard short of the sticks.
The heads up play by Edmonds saved the game for the No. 3 Tigers, who somehow found a way to beat the fourth-ranked Cardinals, 42-36, Saturday in Death Valley, despite five turnovers and 457 total yards from Jackson.
The win gives the Tigers (5-0, 2-0 ACC) control of the ACC Atlantic Division.
Things looked bleak for Clemson when Jackson scored on a 4-yard run that gave the Cardinals (4-1, 2-1 ACC) a 36-28 lead with 7:52 to play. Jackson’s touchdown followed a Deshaun Watson interception.
But on the ensuing kick Artavis Scott returned the ball to the Louisville 23 with a 77-yard return. It took Watson just two plays to atone for his interception, his third of the game, as he hit Mike Williams for 20-yard touchdown pass to cut the Louisville lead to two, 34-32, with 7:05 to play.
After the Clemson defense got a rare stop thanks to Carlos Watkins deflected pass on third down and two, Watson guided the Tigers on an eight-play, 85-yard drive, capping it with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett with 3:14 to play.
But Jackson was not done. He quickly got his team in position to win the game, but Edmonds made the play of the game and the Tigers somehow left Death Valley with a win.
Watson turned the ball over four times, including three interceptions, but when his team needed him the most, he was able to make the plays. He threw five touchdown passes, two to Deon Cain, one to Scott and one to Williams.
Watson totaled 397 total yards, including 306 passing yards. He ran for 91 yards, while running back Wayne Gallman rushed for 110 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
—Photo Credit Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports