Written by Brian Pohl
Clemson, SC- The second-ranked Clemson Tigers were too much for the Louisville Cardinals in 77-16 route over ACC Atlantic divisional foe.
Outmatching Louisville from the start, Clemson established the tone early on their first possession to really grab hold of the game and never looked back. The opening drive for the Tigers took just four plays to go 75-yards and was capped off by a 10-yard score by sophomore running back Travis Etienne.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney on the win and the fast start, “Offensively it was good to see us set the tempo for the day. You know, we scored on the first three possessions in a row, so that was awesome to see.” He continued, “Overall a lot of good things. Offensively we had no sacks in back to back games. First time since 2015. Guys take a lot of pride in that.”
Etienne and the running game of the Tigers really dominated the Cardinals defense, who really had no answer for the attack. Accounting for 476-yards of their 648-yards in the game, the Tigers received big play after big play from their talented backfield on way to the victory.
Three Clemson running backs eclipsed the 100-yard mark in the win over Louisville as Travis Etienne, Tavien Feaster, and Lyn-J Dixon all had big games for the Tigers. Etienne led the way, rushing eight times for 153-yards and a touchdown. The sophomore is having a breakout season, and really completes this Clemson offense that has found its identity.
The play of the game on offense came on the Tigers second possession, as junior running back Tavien Feaster took the first play of the drive 70-yards for an untouched score, blasting past the defense to give Clemson an early 14-0 lead.
Freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence wasn’t called upon to throw much, but was effective when he did, completing eight of his 12 passes for 59-yards and two touchdowns. Lawrence is gaining more and more confidence with each game and beginning to have full control of the offense that is starting to click on all cylinders.
Lawrence and the starters were pulled early in the third quarter, making way for the reserves to get substantial playing time and experience that can create some great depth going forward for coach Swinney.
On defense, the Tigers completely shut down the Louisville offense before two late scores added by the Cardinals in the final quarter. With just 227-yards allowed for the game, the Tigers defense under defensive coordinator Brent Venables had their way with the Cardinals, with six sacks and creating three turnovers creating that really allowed the offense to get in a groove.
The play of the game defense came in the second quarter, as Louisville quarterback Jawon Pass overthrew his receiver into the waiting hands of linebacker Isaiah Simmons, who would take the ball to the house for the score to give the Tigers a 28-3 lead.
Coach Swinney was impressed with his team’s performance and spoke about some of their accomplishments saying, “We had six-hundred and sixty-something yards of offense with three backs over 100-yards, I think we averaged 13.3 [yards] per carry which I think is a record. We had 11.6 per play which breaks a record from 1903, and I think the other thing was points scored in a four-game span which broke the record from 1900 when John Heisman was here, some guy named John Heisman.”
The win continues the 2nd ranked Clemson Tigers undefeated season as they look to once again return to the College Football Playoff. The first thing to take care of though is winning the division, and the schedule opens up nicely for the remaining three games for the Tigers as they face off against Boston College, Duke, and finish with a matchup against in-state rival South Carolina to end the regular season.
Next the Tigers will travel to Boston College to take on the 24th ranked Eagles, with the kickoff time still to be determined.