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Jackson on Clemson rematch: ‘It’s our turn now’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After the way Louisville’s game against Clemson ended in Death Valley last season, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Lamar Jackson looks forward to facing the Tigers again this fall.

Louisville overcame an 18-point deficit at the half on Oct. 1, 2016, and took an eight-point lead on a touchdown run by Jackson with less than eight minutes remaining in the game. But Deshaun Watson responded with a pair of late touchdown passes, leading Clemson to the 42-36 victory.

“That game was everywhere because we were up, we were down, we were up, we were down,” Jackson recalled on Thursday at the ACC Football Kickoff at the Westin Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C. “It happened. You know you’re mad you lost, but it’s over.”

The fact it was a top-five matchup and Louisville’s first loss of the season inflated the pain of defeat for Jackson and the Cardinals. It was the lone loss for Louisville in ACC play and kept it out of the ACC Championship game, as the Cardinals and Tigers both finished with 7-1 records in conference play.

Clemson travels to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Sep. 16 for a big, early season ACC showdown, and Jackson is anticipating the rematch in front of the home crowd.

“I’m very excited,” he said. “We played there and it was very loud. The fans were all into the game, and it’s our turn now.”

Having let its lead slip away against Clemson last season, Jackson knows what Louisville must do to knock off the Tigers this season.

“Finish the game,” he said. “They had a great quarterback, Deshaun, and he performed very well last year. Like I said, we have to finish.”

Clemson has beaten Louisville in each of the last three years by six points or less.

Is this the year Jackson and the Cardinals turn the tide?

“We felt like it was our year last year,” Jackson said. “We just have to play. That’s all.”

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