Clemson's defense will again have its hands full trying to keep Jackson from having a field day, this time on his home turf. The bottom line is the Louisville Cardinals have the best college QB in the country and he's capable of willing his team to victory regardless of the odds.
Defensive players have been known to make bold vows before facing Jackson of how they'll stop the dual-threat quarterback, and nearly always their predictions have proven wrong.
Meanwhile, new starting quarterback Kelly Bryant continued his strong start to the year as he made enough plays. Clemson was able to lean on its home crowd and experienced signal-caller Deshaun Watson last year, but the Cardinals will have the advantage in both categories this year. The Cardinals' offense this season started to look like its old self in the second half at North Carolina, when Malik Williams got things going and finished with 149 rushing yards. The defending champion Tigers are facing a second straight top-15 opponent, and their outstanding defense will face a tall task against Heisman Trophy quarterback Lamar Jackson. He also became the second player since 2000 to account for at least 1,000 yards of total offense in back-to-back seasons. He passed for 393 yards with three passing touchdowns and ran for 132 and had three more scores. They held the Tar Heels to just 17 rushing yards, and just 48 if it excludes the loss of yards from quarterback Chazz Surratt's sacks. He remains as electric as ever on the ground, and he looks as if he's improved as a passer.
As Clemson and Louisville prepare to face off Saturday in Kentucky, the mayors in each of their cities are betting bottles of bourbon on the ACC matchup. More touches for him could aid in wearing down Clemson's vaunted D-line, opening up opportunities for Jackson's speed late in the game. Replacing Watson is junior quarterback Kelly Bryant.
Texas at USC - Any doubt USC may have created in the Week One win over Western Michigan was extinguished in a big way as a balanced run/pass attack saw Sam Darnold craft a 42-24 win over a Stanford team that may have lost its only game of the season in The Coliseum. In Week 1, Clemson tallied 56 points.
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Last season's Clemson vs Louisville matchup was one of the best games of last season. The Tigers were unable to manufacture any kind of running game against a good Auburn defense, and it remains to be seen if they can do so against Louisville. They run very fast to the ball. The biggest effort was dragging myself to the game against Murray State. The team needs Jackson to play well in order for the Cardinals to have a chance and I think Clemson's defense is up to the challenge. Though he carried the ball only 13 times, he averaged 5.3 yards per carry. They will have the benefit of neither this time around and losing the turnover battle on the road could ultimately mean losing the game.
Over his career at Louisville, Lamar Jackson has played in 27 games; the Cardinals are 18-9 in those contests - a win percentage of 66.7 percent. The defensive line is as talented as any in the nation, and while inspirational linebacker Ben Boulware is gone, Kendall Joseph has stepped in well to fill the void in what is still an athletic linebacking corps.
"I'm looking forward to it; we talk a lot, because that's my cousin", Mullen said. - Two years ago, Clemson had impressive bookends at defensive end with Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd, but the current duo of Ferrell and junior Austin Bryant could prove to be even better.
He was good enough a year ago to almost derail Clemson's run to the national championship, when he rallied the Cards to the brink of an upset in Death Valley.