Closer look at Louisville v Clemson

Cardinal Authority takes a closer look at the key ACC contest between Louisville - Clemson on Thursday night

Louisville v Clemson

Date: Sept. 17, 2015
Game Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, Louisville, Ky
Television: ESPN
  Play by Play: Joe Tessitor
  Analyst: Jesse Palmer, Dave Pollack
  Sideline: Kaylee Hartung


  • In 2006, head coach Bobby Petrino was the first coach to bring out the term “Black Out” when the Cardinals upset No. 3 West Virginia 44-34 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. Petrino brought back the “Black Out” last season in the opener versus Miami. The Cardinals will bringing back the “Black Out” to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on Thursday versus Clemson. The Cardinals will wear black uniforms and chrome black helmets versus the Tigers. This will be the fifth Black Out in school history, with the others coming in 2007 versus Rutgers and 2008 versus West Virginia. The Cardinals are 3-1 in Black Out games.

About the Cardinals and Tigers:

  • The Cardinals will look for its first win of the season on Thursday night versus Clemson. The Cardinals fell to 0-2 for the first time since 1998 with the 34-31 loss to Houston last Saturday. UofL will look to avoid its first 0-3 start since the 1984 team lost its first three games to Murray State, West Virginia and SMU.
  • Clemson is ranked 11th in the AP poll this week, but the Tigers are ninth according to the USA Today Coaches poll. It is the first time Clemson has been in the top 10 of one of the polls since the final poll of the 2013 season when Clemson was eighth by AP and seventh by USA Today.
  • Clemson will be the 8th ranked team to visit Papa John's Cardinal Stadium since it opened in 1998.  The Cardinals are 4-3 in the previous seven match-ups against visiting ranked foes.
  • Head coach Bobby Petrino is 4-10 at Louisville versus ranked opponents after the loss to Auburn.
  • The Tigers moved to 2-0 on the season with a 41-10 win over FCS foe Appalachian State.
  • The Tigers won the only the only meeting between the two schools 23-17 last year in Death Valley.
  • Clemson was held to 229 yards of total offense in the win over the Cardinals.
  • Clemson junior defensive end Shaq Lawson has 25.5 tackles for loss in 28 games. He ranks first among active ACC players and 12th nationally in career tackles for loss. He has 4.5 this year, including three in the win over Appalachian State.
  • The Cardinals have a total of 30 interceptions during that 15-game interception streak.
  • Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson has completed 37-48 passes, a .771 completion mark for 442 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. That computes to a 184.6 passing efficiency, ninth best in the nation.
  • Louisville freshman wide receivers Traveon Samuel (six catches, 55 yards) and Jaylen Smith (five catches, 60 yards) both set career highs for receptions and yards versus Houston.
  • Cardinals linebacker Keith Kelsey finished with career highs in tackles (15), tackles for loss (4) and sacks (2). Ten of Kelsey’s 15 tackles were solo stops.

Thursday Night:

  • Clemson has a 5-9 record in ESPN Thursday Night games over the years, but has won four in a row, all under Dabo Swinney. In fact, Swinney is 4-1 in Thursday night games on ESPN.
  • Louisville is 10-8 all-time on ESPN Thursday night broadcasts and have won two of its last three appearances. Head coach Bobby Petrino’s teams have made six appearances on Thursday night during tenure at Louisville and have gone 3-3 during those contests.

For Clemson to win:

  • The Tigers offense needs to stick with its game plan, which starts with Watson at quarterback. 
  • The receiving corp will need to win its share of battles against the U of L secondary. Artavis Scott tops Clemson with 12 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Chreone Peake is a deep-ball threat, averaging nearly 17 yards a catch.
  • Defensively, the Tigers need to keep the Cardinals ground game frustrated and attack whoever the U of L starting quarterback is with frequency.

For Louisville to win:

  • The Cardinals need to get their ground game going.  Brandon Radcliff is getting just 59 yards a game.  Jeremy Smith, who has nine carries, is next with 31 yards.  Freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson has enjoyed the best rushing effort of the young season, going for 106 yards in the opener against Auburn.
  • The defense needs to begin to live up to the expectations that it placed upon itself.  Ranking as a middle of the pack team or worse in every defensive category is not going to get it done in the ACC.  Improvement begins by limiting the rushing success of Clemson.
  • Whoever the quarterback is, he must have ample time to throw and then make the right decisions. Spread the ball around to multiple receivers.
  • Louisville has also suffered some untimely penalties.  Those need to go.


Cardinal Authority Top Stories