Dabo Swinney described Louisville’s Lamar Jackson as one of those few great players that makes you hold your breath every time he touches the ball. Since he is the quarterback, Swinney, along with Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, was holding their breath a lot in No. 3 Clemson’s 42-36 victory on Saturday in Death Valley.
“I was pretty dizzy holding my breath. I held it a lot,” Venables said jokingly after the game. “I needed oxygen. He is pretty scary. He is pretty freighting.”
Jackson lit up the Clemson defense, which came in ranked No. 3 in the country in total yards allowed, with 457 yards of total offense, while running for two scores and throwing for a third.
“He is the real deal,” Venables said.
Jackson appeared to be leading the Cardinals on a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter, when a fifth procedure penalty backed Louisville up to the Clemson 15-yard line with 40 seconds to play. Facing fourth-and-12, Jackson hit wide receiver James Quick in the flats.
“I don’t know about ya’ll, but I know the blitz and that two-to-the flat is there,” Venables said. “It was there too long.”
For Venables, he said it seemed as if the play was in slow motion as Clemson cornerback Marcus Edmond came crashing down on Quick. Edmond did not get to the speedy wideout until he was at the five-yard line, but he pushed him out of pounds a yard shy of the first down.
“He does a good job of having zone eyes and coming up. I was like everyone else. ‘Is he going to make that?’ Thankfully, he did and it won the game for us.”
Edmond said he was just doing what he was coached to do.
“We knew what we had to do. We had to make a stop,” the junior said afterwards. “I put everything into that last play. It was going to last about five seconds. Everything goes to that last play. We did what we had to and we won the game.”