The University of Louisville will host Clemson in an ACC football game on Thursday night.
Cardinal Authority gets you prepared for the game and reached out and asked five questions about Clemson to Trevor Groves of CUTigers.
1. What's the biggest question mark for Clemson heading on the road for the first time.
- Trevor Groves: Biggest question mark would be Clemson's many freshmen playing their first road game in a hostile environment on national television. Clemson played 27 freshmen in its opener and 28 last week. We have a true freshman, Mitch Hyatt, starting at LT and a true freshman backup at RT. Also a red shirt freshman, former walk-on kicker, Greg Huegel, who had his first career FG attempts the other day. Lots of inexperience in the two-deep on defense.
2. What do you feel like the team strength will be this year?
- Groves: The team's strength is certainly the offense (opposite of last season), but the defense is narrowing the gap. I thought this offense was #1 in the nation going into the season. Losing WR Mike Williams might alter that ranking, but Clemson is loaded with weapons all over the field. As has been repeated ad nauseum, Deshaun Watson avoiding injury is critical. The offense takes a big step back with Schuessler. 3rd string Kelly Bryant will probably be the backup by the end of the season. Best WR group in the nation in my opinion with Mike Williams.
3. What newcomers will have a big impact on Thursday night?
- Groves: I think true freshman WR Ray-Ray McCloud will make a couple big plays in passing game and/or returns. Clemson will try to get him the ball in space. True freshman WR Deon Cain is also calable of big plays but is a little behind McCloud from a maturity and readiness standpoint. On defense, true freshman DT Christian Wilkins is a beast.
4. Who is the player the opponent better keep a close eye on in this game?
- Groves: Skipping the obvious choice of Watson, keep an eye on WR Charone Peake. He's always had great talent and speed but has been plagued by injuries his whole career. He and Watson connected on 2 long TDs last week. WR Artavis Scott is also a big play guy on sweeps and screens. RB Wayne Gallman can run with power and speed. Defensively, Shaq Lawson is this season's Vic Beasley. Already has 4.5 TFLs. Better against the run than Vic was. Kesrse and Alexander are nasty in the secondary. Kearse has 7 career INTs at safety position in less than two full seasons. Alexander was 2nd in ACC in completion percentage last year behind Clemson's Garry Peters. Secondary is one of best in nation. Ranked 3rd right now in pass D.
5. What is the key to victory for Clemson?
- Groves: Key to victory is turnovers. I believe Clemson has a much better team this season, but turnovers are the great equalizer. If Clemson wins or ties the turnover battle, I think Clemson wins by at least one TD. If Watson gets hurt like early in the game last season, obviously all bets are off.