After last weeks showing in South Bend, it genuinely feels like Clemson’s 38-game home winning streak is in serious jeopardy this week.
The Tigers got flat out whipped by Notre Dame and it wasn’t nearly as close as the 35-14 final score indicated. How will this team respond to that kind of effort?
This game with Louisville feels like a matchup of two teams headed in opposite directions. The Cardinals have won four straight and five out of six, while Clemson has regressed bigtime over the past couple of weeks.
The offense feels like it’s struggling to establish an identity behind inconsistent play, and not just at QB, while the defense just hasn’t played with a sense of urgency of late. How the Tigers respond to last weeks showing will tell us a lot about where this team stands.
However, while hot, three of Louisville’s last four wins have come at home, with the lone road win coming over a bad Virginia team. Playing in Death Valley will be something different entirely.
For Clemson, it all starts with protecting the football. The Tigers have turned it over six times in the past two games after committing just six over the first seven. Two of those were returned for TDs and they also allowed a blocked punt that was returned for a TD. Getting back to protecting the football will go a long way towards getting things back on track.
At the end of the day, it’s hard to imagine a Dabo Swinney team not bouncing back from a loss like the one against the Irish. There is just too much pride inside that locker room, despite this not being one of his more elite teams.
It won’t be easy, but I do believe this Clemson team will get it done on Saturday. It’s Military Appreciation Day, and nobody does Military Appreciation like Clemson and the Tigers don’t lose these games.
Expect a heavy dose of Will Shipley and Phil Mafah, with the running game doing just enough to get it done. And the defense, well we’ll see, but I’m betting it’s nothing like what we saw on Saturday in South Bend. Dynamic QB Malik Cunningham will make some plays but he won’t run wild, as the Tigers win another one at home.
Clemson 24 Louisville 20
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