March 23, 2018

Will Vandervort Previews Clemson vs Louisville

17 September 2017, 06:21 | Joan Schultz

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Cole Little is a senior writer for Clemson's student newspaper The Tiger. "It's going to be a loud environment, and so we've got to get some of that communication stuff cleaned up, and I'm confident we will". It's a fascinating matchup that pits Jackson, the reigning Heisman Trophy victor, against a Tigers defense that might be the toughest in the nation.

Jackson, who is the current favorite to win that award again this season, faces an uphill battle Saturday night, though. That included one clever Charlie Brown-themed sign involving current Louisville star quarterback Lamar Jackson and former Clemson star quarterback Deshaun Watson. If Clemson is able to get it going offensively and put some early points on the board, Louisville could be in a bit more trouble than it was a year ago - and it was in a lot of trouble in that game. He's made 23 career starts, including eight during his freshman campaign back in 2015. Jackson himself accounted for 525 of those yards and also had six touchdowns.

Jackson did not quite live up to the hype in the first half; the Tigers' defense managed to bottle him up as Clemson took a 28-10 lead. While he was just 19-of-29 for 181 yards through the air, he ran for 59 yards and scored both of the offense's touchdowns.

Obviously, there are some confounding variables here, too. Often overshadowed by the likes of freak talents, such as the aforementioned Lawrence and Wilkins, O'Daniel is actually one of the most NFL-ready defenders that Clemson sports on its roster. Bad teams are also prone to having bad defenses, which would theoretically make it easier to run wild.

Baylor (0-2) at Duke (2-0), 12:30 p.m.: Intriguing game if, for nothing else, the novelty of a Big 12 team traveling to Durham. "We all have a dream of getting to the next level, we used to see people playing on this level of football". Watson is now gone, as are many other key players from last season. Look in any box score, and that's the number you will find. That's how Jackson does a majority of his damage on the ground, although he is a unsafe scrambler.

At least through two games, it appears Lamar Jackson has focused on proving that his passing game is as good as his running game.

Between the ACC and national implications of this game, this Clemson vs. Louisville matchup is must-see action.

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Jackson's final, fourth-down pass near Clemson's end zone came up a yard shy in a last chance to take down the Tigers.

Louisville is coming off a 47- 35 win over UNC Tar Heels.

Since he entered the league in 2015, that's only been done four times. In those contests, the Cards are 2-5; the two wins came back in 2015 against Wake Forest and Boston College. A loss would mean Tennessee starts SEC season behind the 8-ball, and the weight on Butch Jones' shoulders will only grow heavier. They weren't exactly juggernauts. The obvious choice might be someone on Clemson's defensive line, or all of them. While his stats were gaudy, the circumstances were arguably even more impressive.

Lamar Jackson is putting up video game numbers for Louisville.

The offensive line for Louisville is critical, too.

On its way to its first national title since 1981, the Tigers beat Louisville 42-36 in a wild game at Clemson last October.

However, if Jackson does find ways to consistently get loose on Saturday, then Louisville's margin for error on defense should be wider than last season.

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