Photo by Trevor Groves

Historic Win for #3 Clemson Over #3 Louisville

In just the 5th meeting of top-5 teams in ACC history, #3 Clemson rallied late to beat #3 Louisville in front of a raucous 83,362 in Death Valley!

Highlights:
Dabo PC Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:
Deshaun Watson Part 1:
Part 2:

CLEMSON, S.C. - Marcus Edmond tackled James Quick one yard shy of a first down at the three yard line on fourth down with 33 seconds left in the game, as No. 3 Clemson held on for a thrilling 42-36 win over No. 3 Louisville at Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.
Led by quarterback Deshaun Watson, who was 20-31 passing for 306 yards and five touchdowns, the Tigers (5-0, 2-0 ACC) came out on top of the back-and-forth matchup featuring electrifying offensive displays from both teams. Clemson also upped its home winning streak to 19, the longest active streak in the nation.
“It was a great win,” said head coach Dabo Swinney. “Louisville played their hearts out. We stuck it out in the third quarter. We had the right plays.”
Defense was the story of the first quarter, as both teams struggled to manufacture any substantial drives. Clemson’s pass rush was particularly effective and pressured Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson throughout.
The Cardinals (4-1, 2-1 ACC) were the first to score, as Jeremy Smith capped an 82-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run in the opening minute of the second quarter.
The remainder of the quarter was practically all Clemson, however, with the Tigers outscoring the Cardinals 28-3. Deon Cain made a big splash during that stretch, hauling in two touchdown receptions that covered 70 yards altogether.
Following a fumble by Louisville’s Brandon Radcliff, which was the Cardinals’ third consecutive drive with a turnover, Clemson struck again. Wayne Gallman, who totaled 110 yards on the ground, sprinted into the endzone on a 24-yard run. Later in the quarter, Watson and Cain connected to put the Tigers up 21-7. Cain finished with four catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cardinals added a field goal with under a minute to play in the half, but the Tigers were able to answer with a frenetic scoring drive in just 26 seconds. Advancing 73 yards in four plays, Clemson increased its lead to 28-10 on a five-yard touchdown pass from Watson to Artavis Scott.
Louisville outscored Clemson 16-0 in the third quarter, capitalizing on two Tiger turnovers. Following a Watson interception, Jackson connected with James Quick for an eight-yard touchdown.
A Louisville field goal on its next possession pulled it to within nine points. After a Clemson fumble in Louisville territory, Jackson drove the Cardinals 77 yards and finished the drive off with a one-yard touchdown rush.
The Cardinals pushed their run to 26-0 by scoring the first 10 points of the fourth quarter by way of a field goal and an 11-yard Jackson scamper into the endzone. In the wake of the score by Jackson, Scott provided the Tigers with excellent field position via a 77-yard kickoff return, then Watson found Mike Williams for a 20-yard touchdown pass.
The Tigers regained the lead on their next possession, as Watson finished off an 85-yard drive with a 31-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Leggett, who also hauled in a Watson pass for the succeeding two-point conversion.
Trailing 42-36 late in the game, the Cardinals marched down the field. But after a crucial pre-snap penalty on fourth-and-7, which made it fourth-and-12, Jackson connected with Quick near the sideline. An alert Edmond forced Quick out of bounds at the three, one yard shy of a first down.
Clemson returns to action on Friday at 7:30 p.m., when it travels to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to take on Boston College on ESPN.
Jeff Scott:
Tony Elliott:
Brent Venables Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Wayne Gallman:
Jordan Leggett:
Ben Boulware:
Artavis Scott:
CLEMSON HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY

On the significance of this big win:

“We want to be 12-0 and you can't win 12 until you win five. It was a great win. Louisville played their hearts out. We stuck it out in the third quarter. We had the right plays, but we fumbled the ball and turned it over. At the end of the day, you either have the heart or you don’t. You have the will to win or you don’t. What can you say? Our fans were awesome. At the end of the day, this is 19 in a row at home and we’re moving on to the next one.”

On Deshaun Watson:

“Here’s what’s great about tonight. A lot of adversity. You’ve got balls that are tipped, perfect throws, interceptions, it’s a crazy thing. You throw a touchdown pass to (Jordan) Leggett, he gets a fumble, but they kept playing. We always talk about just play the next play. But at the end of the day, us coaches get way too much credit. This is a game. Players make plays. That’s how you win football games. We didn’t make enough of them in the third quarter. I love my staff because they put the players in position to be successful in the fourth quarter when you have to have it. ‘Clemson tough.’ We’re built for this. We’re built for games like this. Those guys have got the heart of a champion and they showed it tonight. I love my staff, love my team, love these fans. This is what it’s all about. It doesn’t get much better than this.”

 

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LOUISVILLE HEAD COACH BOBBY PETRINO QUOTES

Opening statement:

“It’s a tough loss. I am very proud of our team and the way we competed back in the second half. The guys that were out there were playing really hard and we got back in the game, took the lead and we weren’t able to finish it. It’s a real tough loss. We will come back though and we will be alright.”

On the last play:

“They brought pressure and Lamar (Jackson) knew where he needed to go with the ball. He just came up a yard short.”

On the first-half penalties:

“I guess you need to watch the video and see so you can see what was happening out there. You probably don’t want me to say. I guess you need to watch the video and see how the game went about in the first half.”

 

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CLEMSON PLAYER QUOTES - OFFENSE

 

Deshaun Watson, QB

Overall thoughts:

“I can’t even describe it. One of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Just the ups and downs. I love our Clemson fans for sticking with us and believing. I love my teammates and coaches for sticking together and believing in each other.”

On how his team responded in the fourth quarter:

“Just believe. They came out believing. I said let’s be great. That’s what we wanted to do. Everyone just mind your ‘Ps’ and ‘Qs.’ Everyone stay true to themselves. We drove down and got the touchdown and we made plays like coach (Dabo) Swinney said, ‘Players make plays.’ And that’s what we did.”

 

Jordan Leggett, TE

On the emotion at the end of the game:

“A lot of emotion...me and a couple of the offensive guys couldn’t even watch the last play. It felt like it was the Notre Dame game all over again. Getting that stop on fourth down meant a lot for the game and we were all excited.”

On how the offense turned it back on again after the third-quarter struggles:

“You are going to face adversity in everything, so we just handled it, got our offense together and focussed our minds and went back out there.”

Wayne Gallman, RB

On how fun the night was:

“It was fun. It was fun from the first snap. I could still go two more quarters because I am not that tired.”

On the win on his birthday:

“No, it feels the same. Birthdays are getting old to me.”

On if it feels like this win puts Clemson in the driver’s seat in the ACC Atlantic Division:

Yes, because we have to take it one game as if it is the national championship, because we are going to get everybody’s best shot and that means we have to play up to par. So we have to prepare and get ready.”

 

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CLEMSON PLAYER QUOTES - DEFENSE

Ben Boulware, LB

On the end of the game:

“I started thinking about the Notre Dame game and we’re just gonna find a way to win. It was sloppy and there’s a lot of things that we can get corrected, but I’m so proud of our guys and the resiliency and maturity. We found a way to win.”

On Lamar Jackson:

“He’s a freak. I was very confident going in that our scheme would shut him down, but hats off to that dude. He’s a freak athlete. A lot of times, we had good leverage on him and he just outran us and made a play. He’s definitely probably the best player I’ve played against.”

Cordrea Tankersley, CB

On the game:

“It was just a tremendous game for us. It felt like the Notre Dame game. Marcus Edmond came up big for us. He’s somebody who’s growing and trying to mature, and for him to go and make a play like that, that really helps us.”

On stopping Lamar Jackson:
I felt like we did everything we could. Of course we had a few minor mistakes, but overall I feel like we did a great job of putting ourselves in a position to do the best we could. We got the win and that’s all that matters.”

On Louisville:

“Louisville, hands down, is a great team. They gave us hell and went out and played their hearts out. In a top-five matchup, that is what you expect.”

 CLEMSON GAME NOTES

Clemson Team

• With the victory, Clemson remains unbeaten in three games against Louisville, all coming since the Cardinals joined the ACC in 2014.

• The Tigers have won 19 straight home games overall, the longest active streak in the country. Clemson is also 14-2 in games decided by seven points or less since 2011, including a 7-0 mark at home during that span.

• Clemson is 1-1 all-time at Death Valley in meetings between top-five teams. The Tigers have also won three of its last four meetings against top-15 teams in Memorial Stadium.

• Clemson earned its third straight victory over Louisville, all coming by less than seven points. It is just the second time in school history that Clemson has defeated the same team by seven points or less in three straight years. The other came against Duke from 1965-67, when Clemson topped the Blue Devils by less than seven points in three straight seasons.

• Clemson has won 31 straight games when rushing for at least 200 rushing yards. The Tigers are 76-0-1 when totaling at least 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards, while holding an 87-1-1 record when totaling at least 500 yards of total offense.

• The Tigers have won 56 of their last 57 games when leading heading into the fourth quarter.

• Clemson has recorded at least 500 yards of total offense against the last five ranked opponents it has faced. The last game against a ranked opponent in which Clemson did not amass 500 yards of total offense was against Notre Dame last season, when the Tigers managed 296 yards of offense in the 24-22 victory.

• Clemson forced Louisville to punt on its opening drive of the game, just the second time this season that the Cardinals did not score on their opening drive. The Tigers’ opponents are now 0-for-5 on the opening drive of the game this season.

• The Clemson defense totaled four sacks in the first half, more than Louisville had allowed in the entire season entering tonight’s game. Cardinal quarterbacks had been sacked just three times total through its first four games of the year. The Tigers finished the game with a season-high-tying five sacks.

• Clemson held Louisville scoreless in the first quarter, the first time it failed to score in any quarter this season. Louisville had scored at least a touchdown in each of the 16 quarters it had played before tonight’s game.

• Clemson scored 28 points in the second quarter. That is the most points in any quarter against an ACC opponent since also scoring 28 points in the second quarter against NC State on Nov. 23, 2012. The Tigers also scored 28 points in a quarter against Wake Forest and Duke that same season.

• Clemson’s 28 points in a quarter are also tied for the most against a ranked opponent in school history. The Tigers scored 28 points against No. 13 Georgia Tech in 1999, but that game was in Atlanta, Ga. So, the 28 second-quarter points were the most ever in a single quarter against a ranked opponent in a Clemson home game.

• Clemson and Louisville combined to score 38 points in the second quarter after both teams were held scoreless in the first quarter. The 38 points is the third-highest combined point total in any quarter in Clemson history and the most combined points in a quarter in a home game since Oct. 22, 2011, when the Tigers and North Carolina combined for 42 points in the third quarter.

• Louisville totaled 568 yards of offense in a losing effort. That is the most yards by a Clemson opponent in a Tiger victory since 2012, when NC State amassed 597 yards of total offense, but the Tigers earned the 62-48 victory at Death Valley.

 

Clemson Individual

• Head coach Dabo Swinney is 10-5 all-time against top-10 opponents. Of the 10 victories, the win was just the third to come at home.

• Deshaun Watson recorded season highs for passing yards (306), rushing yards (91), total offense yards (391) and passing touchdowns (5). His five passing touchdowns were the most since he had five at NC State last season and are the most in a home game since he passed for a school-record six touchdowns against North Carolina in 2014. Watson has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 21 consecutive games, which was already a Clemson record entering the game.

• Tight end Jordan Leggett scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 31-yard reception in the fourth quarter. With the score, Leggett is the Clemson career leader in touchdowns by a tight end with 13. He finished the game with three catches for 70 yards and the touchdown.

• Wayne Gallman rushed for 110 yards, marking the 14th time in his career that he surpassed the 100-yard mark, one shy of the Clemson record. The record is held by Raymond Priester, who rushed for at least 100 yards 15 times from 1994-97.

• Gallman has 2,662 career rushing yards, moving him into ninth place on Clemson’s career rushing list. He is 99 yards shy of eighth place on the list, trailing Woodrow Dantzler, who rushed for 2,761 yards in his career from 1998-01.

• Deon Cain recorded a career-high 98 receiving yards on four catches, while he found the endzone twice for the first time in his career. He became the second Clemson receiver in the last three weeks to total two touchdown catches in a game, after Ray-Ray McCloud had two against SC State.

• Jordan Leggett had three receptions for a season-high 70 receiving yards and a touchdown. He has back-to-back games with a touchdown reception.

• Jadar Johnson recorded his team-leading third interception of the year in the second quarter. Johnson also had an interception last season against the Cardinals and has seven picks in his career.

• Ben Boulware led the Tiger defense with a career-high 18 tackles, including three tackles for loss and one sack.

• Van Smith added a career-high 16 tackles.

• Clelin Ferrell and Albert Huggins each recorded a career high with two sacks apiece in the game. The two sacks were the first two of Ferrell’s career, while Huggins now has three sacks on the year.

• Artavis Scott returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 77 yards to set up a Clemson touchdown. The return was the longest by a Tiger since 2011, when Sammy Watkins went 89 yards on a kickoff return at Maryland.

 


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