Saturday night’s prime time game between second-ranked Clemson and No. 14 Louisville carries a lot of weight.
The game has ACC Atlantic Division implications as well as national significance in relation to the College Football Playoff. Not to mention ESPN’s College Gameday Show will be there to hype it up and it kicks off in primetime at 8 p.m. on ABC.
That is enough to motivate anybody identifying as either a Cardinal or Tiger.
However, for Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen, this game holds a different level of significance.
Nothing beats a good family competition and Saturday night Mullen gets a shot to compete against his cousin, Louisville quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.
Mullen talks to Jackson almost daily, though they “haven’t really discussed” the game. The two just enjoy talking about life and keeping up with one another.
The Clemson sophomore has played against the Louisville quarterback his entire life, growing up in Pompano Beach, Fla.
“We always played against each other” said Mullen. “Since little league when we’d play against each other in super bowls or in the regular season.”
The Tigers’ corner is looking forward to seeing his cousin and talking to him before the game. Furthermore, he is excited to show Jackson what he and the Tiger defense are capable of.
The Clemson defense has allowed a miniscule 237 yards in its first two contests, good enough for second in the country.
In the words of Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, Jackson and company are putting up “video game numbers.” Louisville is ranked 5th in total offense averaging 614.5 yards per game through the first two weeks.
Saturday will answer the age old question, what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
Mullen is most looking forward to the opportunity to talk to Jackson before the game. The cousins rarely see each other and this will be their first meeting since the summer in Pompano Beach.
The Clemson defensive back has an extensive knowledge of the Heisman Trophy winner dating back to their childhood years and he says not much has changed.
“I know him, I know what he does and what type of player he is, I’ve been around him my whole life” Mullen said. “I know the way he moves and he is a good athlete.”
Mullen recalled one thing he said to his cousin in relation to Saturday’s game. “I told him I’m ready to get after him and compete with him” he said.
One thing is certain, getting after Jackson is no easy task and Mullen knows better than anybody the extent of the challenge.