Clemson Flashback: Tigers rally to beat No. 3 Louisville in epic top 5 battle

Clemson Flashback: Tigers rally to beat No. 3 Louisville in epic top 5 battle


Clemson Flashback: Tigers rally to beat No. 3 Louisville in epic top 5 battle


Deshaun Watson threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett with 3:14 to play in the game as No. 5 Clemson rallied to beat Lamar Jackson and third-ranked Louisville, 42-36, on October 1, 2016.

Watson threw five touchdown passes and had 397 total yards, including 306 passing yards, while Jackson had 457 total yards and totaled three touchdowns in a battle of top 5 teams at Memorial Stadium. Jackson went on to beat out Watson for the Heisman Trophy that season, but Watson and the Tigers earned the bigger prize … the 2016 National Championship.

After Clemson fell behind 36-28 with 7:52 to play in the game, following Jackson’s 11-yard scoring run, Watson engineered two quick scoring drives to put Clemson back in front.

Artavis Scott returned the ensuing kickoff 77 yards to the Cardinals’ 23. After Watson ran for 3 yards on first down, he found Mike Williams on second down running a post for a 20-yard touchdown, pulling the Tigers within two points at 36-34 after a failed two-point conversion.

The Clemson defense got a rare three-and-out in the second half, and Watson and the Clemson offense took over at their own 15-yard line with 6:11 to play in the game. It took eight plays and 2:57 off the clock to go the 85 yards before Watson capped off the drive with the winning pass to Leggett.

But Jackson was not done. The 3:14 on the clock was more than enough time to get his team down the field and win the game. He had already willed the Cardinals back into the game after Clemson dominated the first half and led 28-10 at halftime.

Down six points from his own 25, Jackson marched the Cardinals right down the field both running and throwing the ball. With 1:12 left in the game, his team had a first-and-10 at the Clemson 12-yard line.

However, the Tigers defense rose to the challenge. After calling a timeout, Clemson allowed just three yards on the next three plays as Louisville faced fourth-and-seven from the 9. Then a false start backed the ball up to the 14.

On fourth down, Jackson hit James Quick, who was running open for what looked like a sure touchdown. However, Quick turned outside instead of inside, where the middle of the field was open. Cornerback Marcus Edmond was there to push him out of bounds and short of the lead stick at the Clemson 3-yard line with 33 seconds to play.

Relive all the action from this classic battle at Death Valley in this photo gallery. LINK

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