What happened the last time Clemson played as an underdog?

What happened the last time Clemson played as an underdog?

Football

What happened the last time Clemson played as an underdog?

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It didn’t take long for Vegas to switch up on Clemson.

The 24th-ranked Tigers (4-2, 3-1 ACC) opened as a three-point road favorite against No. 23 Pittsburgh, according to Vegas Insider. By the end of Sunday, though, oddsmakers had shifted the points to the Panthers. And they keep growing.

As of early Monday afternoon, Pitt (5-1, 2-0) was up to as much as a four-point favorite by some sportsbooks for Saturday’s game at Heinz Field, putting the Tigers in an unusual position. Not since 2016 has Clemson been an underdog against an ACC opponent.

That year, Clemson hosted Louisville and its eventual Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Lamar Jackson, as a two-point ‘dog in a top-5 matchup. By the time it was over, the teams had produced an instant classic.

Louisville entered that game averaging more than 63 points, but it was Clemson doing most of the scoring early. The Tigers built a 28-10 halftime lead behind three touchdown passes from Deshaun Watson and a 24-yard scoring run from Wayne Gallman. 

Watson threw for 306 yards and five scores but was also picked off three times, helping Jackson and the Cardinals hang around. Jackson worked his magic with 457 total yards and led five second-half scoring drives as Louisville chipped away at the deficit.

Blanton Creque’s field goal early in the fourth quarter gave Louisville a 29-28 lead before Jackson followed with an 11-yard touchdown run to increase the advantage. Jackson racked up 162 of his yards on the ground.

But Clemson scored the game’s final two touchdowns, the latter coming on a 31-yard toss from Watson to tight end Jordan Leggett. It held up over the final 3 minutes, 14 seconds left as the Tigers escaped with a 42-36 victory.

Clemson will be facing another high-scoring offense Saturday. Only Coastal Carolina and Ohio State are scoring more points in the FBS than Pitt (48.3 per game), which is led by quarterback Kenny Pickett. The sixth-year senior has been one of hottest signal callers in the country with 21 passing touchdowns and just one interception.

Meanwhile, Clemson’s offense hasn’t come close to replicating that explosive bunch from five seasons ago. The Tigers are last in the ACC in scoring (20.5 points per game) and next to last in total offense (322.3 yards per game), numbers Clemson is almost certainly going to have to improve on this week if it’s going to pull the upset again.

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