Louisville's third game of the season featured a third starting quarterback, as sophore Kyle Bolin received the start against No.11 Clemson on Thursday night at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium.
Bolin completed an 11-yard pass to Jaylen Smith on the game's first play, but after collecting the team's initial first down of the game the Cardinals were forced to punt and set up a first half with little offensive production. Bolin was threw for 102 yards, highlighted by a 55 yard connection with Jaylen Smith to set up Louisville's only first half points, a 26-yard John Wallace field goal. It was the Louisville ground game that wasn't able to contribute during the first half, with Brandon Radcliff managing just 26 yards on 12 attempts.
Clemson struck first when Deshaun Watson connected with Hunter Renfrow for a 32 yards touchdown early in the second quarter. The Tigers offense compiled 187 yards of offense in the opening half, but never entered the red zone.
Louisville received a spark early when cornerback Shaq Wiggins snagged his first career interception as a Cardinal on the second play of the second half. The U of L offense responded with a 9-play, 58-yard touchdown drive, capped by a Jeremy Smith 1-yard run to give the hosts a 10-7 advantage. The lead was short-lived as the Tigers answered with it's own 9-play drive, this one resulting in a 36 yard field goal to even the score midway through the third quarter.
Following a three and out for the U of L offense, Clemson put together another scoring drive. A 6-play, 68-yard drive was capped with another long ball from Watson, this one a 25-yard strike to tight end Jordan Leggett for a 17-10 lead late in the third quarter. Clemson added a 27-yard field goal two series later to build a ten point lead.
Louisville freshman Traveon Samuel took the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to edge the Cardinals back within 20-17, but despite a couple of late opportunities couldn't draw any closer. John Wallace missed a 38-yard field goal 4:06 to play that would have evened the score and a last minute was thwarted when a deep pass by Bolin was intercepted at the goal line.
Louisville falls to 0-3 for the first time since 1984. Up next for the Cardinals is a home contest against Samford.