Clemson defeated No. 4 Louisville 42-36 on Saturday in Death Valley.
The third-ranked Tigers (5-0, 2-0 ACC) built an 18-point lead in the second quarter, but allowed the Cardinals to come back to regain the lead in the fourth quarter. Clemson’s defense provided the stops necessary to allow its offense to put the Tigers back on top.
Here is what we heard following the game:
Head coach Dabo Swinney was tremendously proud of how his team was able to fight back to find a way to win. He said that it shows the character, culture and heart that this football program has.
“What an awesome moment to be a part of. It just doesn’t get any better than that,” Swinney said. “It was a fun game to be a part of…most of the time.”
Swinney said that the Clemson fans really could not have created a more electric atmosphere for the first night game in Death Valley.
“I didn’t know if I was going to make it to the building through Tiger Walk. People were fired up,” Swinney said “We’re going to have a party tonight. We have the longest home-game winning streak.”
Clemson’s offense gave Louisville the chance to beat the Tigers with two fumbles and three interceptions thrown by Deshaun Watson. The Cardinals had possession of the ball for almost 15 minutes more than Clemson did, which gave them the opportunity to score 26 straight points before Clemson added some more of its own.
“Offensively, we made it hard,” Swinney said. “You’re giving an offense that scores 60 points a game a ball on the 20.”
Co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said, although there were some issues with turning the ball over and not playing clean on offense, the ability to find a way to win showed the character of the team.
“The third quarter was a little sloppy in terms of ball security, I’m but really, really proud of the heart of a champion the offense had in the second and then in the fourth quarter to come back with two big drives to help win the game,” Elliott said.
Luckily for Clemson, the defense was able to create plays and make stops to give the offense the ball back. Linebacker Ben Boulware led the team with 18 total tackles and a sack.
“Is that what it was? Good Lord. That is kind of Luke Kuechly-ish. I always wanted a guy like Luke Kuechly on my team,” Swinney said. “If you look up ‘Linebacker’ in the dictionary, his name is beside it.”
Boulware said Louisville was a huge challenge, and he admitted that quarterback Lamar Jackson was deserving of all the praise he received for his talent.
“Lamar Jackson is the best player I have ever played against,” Boulware said.
Now the Tigers have a quick turnaround as they travel to take on Boston College Friday night in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Because of that, Clemson will hold practice Sunday evening, and running back Wayne Gallman is focused on the next task at hand.
“We have practice tomorrow. We’ll go out, practice tomorrow to be ready for the next game,” Gallman said. “We have to take every game as if it is the national championship. We know we are going to get everybody’s best shot and that means we have to play up to par, so we have to prepare and get ready.”