Clemson at Louisville: Preview and Prediction

Remember when Louisville was coming into the ACC to take over? Almost a decade later and the program is still looking for a signature win and its first ever victory over Clemson.

The Cardinals have come close against the Tigers, but have yet to beat them. However, if there ever was a time to get Clemson, now is that time, and Scott Satterfield knows it.

Louisville is actually giving tickets away to all season ticket holders with perfect attendance this season in hopes of packing the place and giving the Cardinals a true home field advantage. You read that right, they are giving them away for free.

Yes, this Clemson team is vulnerable right now due to an inept offense, but the Tigers still have Brent Venables and a championship caliber defense. If Louisville is going to win this game, they will have to do what Florida State couldn’t one week ago and get the QB run game going.

Venables had a masterful plan for shutting down Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis and it worked to perfection. The Tigers will need a repeat performance against Cardinals quarterback Malik Cunningham, who is actually much better than Travis.

Louisville comes in having lost three of their last four but it isn’t because of Cunningham and that offense. They have only failed to gain 400 yards once all season and that was in the opener, and they come in averaging right at 30 points per game.

The problem has come on the defensive side of the ball. Louisville is allowing 27 points per game, 134 rushing yards per game and 281 passing yards per game. And they just lost All ACC cornerback Kei’Trel Clark for the season.

After having his coming out party in the win over FSU, expect freshman back Will Shipley to be a major part of the plan this week. Clemson has found a little something in the running game in recent weeks and despite playing a game of musical chairs along the offensive line, the group up front has been much better when it comes to run blocking of late. The pass protection, on the other hand, well that is a discussion for another day.

The more success the Tigers have running the ball, the less Cunningham and that offense is on the field. If this offense can move the ball some, maybe they can actually start to finish off some drives in this game seeing as Louisville has one of the worst red zone defense in the country.

At the end of the day, though, the Tigers have what they have on the offensive side of the ball. And the biggest struggles have come on the road. They just need to limit mistakes and be a little more opportunistic. Like very other week, it will be ugly at times.

But like every other week this defense will rise to the occasion. Cunningham will find rushing yards tough to come by. The Cardinals will hit some plays in the passing game, but not enough of them to pull out a win.

Clemson 23 Louisville 16

Sam Clemons: This game, like all those that remain is crucial for the Tigers. Last week, I believe, despite the penalties and turnovers, there was visible, real improvement. They’re going to need that improvement to continue and I believe it will. Louisville is a good team and a tough place to play and anything can happen this year in the ACC. That said, I predict a nice victory for the Tigers. Remember, One point is all that’s needed

Clemson 28 Louisville 14

Freddie Huth: Another week, another back against the wall game. Many still wait in hopes that DJ Uiagalelei and the offense will put together their best game of the season and put away a team they have on the ropes instead of allowing them to hang around like they did last week. But turnovers and penalties at crucial moments keep killing this team. I expect the improvements to continue and the offense to do what they have to in order to secure another close win.

Clemson 24 Louisville 17

Ted Jackson: Clemson has not fared well at all on the road this year. In fact, they are 1-2 with the lone win being by three points against Syracuse. They have yet to score more than 17 points in regulation in road games this year. The offense has slightly improved, but not to the point there is any reason to believe they will have any sort of “breakout” game, particularly on the road. Against an unusually vulnerable Clemson team, Louisville fans will be out in force as they smell blood in the water. A tired but ever so reliable Clemson defense will once again be called on to save the day.

Clemson 17 Louisville 16

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