LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Second-ranked Clemson dominated Louisville on Saturday, but it came with a price. Perhaps for the first time this year, the Tigers exited a game banged up at several positions.
Right guard John Simpson, running back Travis Etienne, wide receiver Amari Rodgers, linebacker Isaiah Simmons, reserve defensive tackle Xavier Kelly, defensive backs Derion Kendrick and Mario Goodrich all came out of the game banged up, but fortunately for Clemson, none are considered to be serious injuries.
The closest is Kendrick, who has a turf toe injury. However, head coach Dabo Swinney and defensive coordinator Brent Venables both said the turf injury was not serious. After the game, Etienne said he tweaked his ankle, but he is okay.
Kelly has a shoulder injury, but it was being reported as a stinger. Simmons went back in the game and Swinney said all the others could have gone back in if they needed them.
Etienne’s injury was the most disappointing because the Jennings, La., native had already rushed for 192 yards. He needed just 8 yards to become the first Clemson player in history to record three 200-yard rushing games in a career.
Higgins used decoy. Clemson switched things up at wide receiver in Saturday’s game. Co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said they started Justyn Ross at the boundary position and Tee Higgins on the field side, due to the fact Higgins was still not 100 percent.
Scott said he was proud of the way Ross performed playing the boundary. The sophomore finished the game with 5 catches for 55 yards, including a tremendous 25-yard touchdown grab in the back of the end zone from Trevor Lawrence.
Swinney said Ross hung up there so long he wasn’t sure if he was going to come down.
Dukes, Mellusi burn redshirts. Freshmen Michel Dukes and Chez Mellusi both played in Saturday’s 45-10 win over the Cardinals. It marked the fifth time both running backs played in a game this year, meaning the two have officially burned their redshirt season.
Mellusi finished the game with 35 yards on 5 carries, including a 16-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Dukes had two carries for 5 yards.
Besides Saturday’s game at Louisville, Mellusi played against Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Charlotte and Florida State. Dukes played in the Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Charlotte and Florida State games as well.
Foster, Rudolph get start. With Xavier Thomas not making the trip to Louisville due to a concussion, Clemson started Justin Foster and Logan Rudolph at defensive end.
Foster finished the game with 5 tackles for loss, two sacks, caused fumble and quarterback pressure that led to an interception.
Rudolph finished the game with two tackles, including one tackle for loss.