Clemson vs. Louisville Prediction, Game Preview

    Clemson vs. Louisville prediction and game preview. The Tigers and Cardinals meet in a top-5 showdown on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

    October 1, 2016

    Clemson vs. Louisville prediction and game preview. The Tigers and Cardinals meet in a top-5 showdown on Saturday.


    Clemson vs. Louisville Game Preview

    When: Saturday, Oct. 1 – 8:00 p.m. ET
    Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
    TV Broadcast: ABC

    The Tigers (4-0, 1-0 ACC) and the Cardinals (4-0, 2-0) are set to clash in a huge ACC Atlantic division matchup on Saturday night in Death Valley. Dabo Swinney’s squad is coming off of a 26-7 win against Georgia Tech last week at Bobby Dodd Stadium, while Bobby Petrino and Co. blasted Marshall 59-28 in Huntington, W.V. This will be the first time this season that Louisville will be an underdog if the line holds.

    ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be on campus, and the winner will have an inside track on the Atlantic division crown and a possible berth in the College Football Playoff. Clemson has won two close games against Louisville the last two seasons, so the Cardinals have played the Tigers tough. Can they break through this year on the road?

    What To Know About Clemson

    The Tigers are starting to click offensively, and that’s bad news for opposing ACC defenses. They looked sluggish in the second half last week at Georgia Tech, but that was an expected letdown after such a dominant first half. The Tigers ran more plays in the first two quarters than GT did in the entire game (52). Defensively, Clemson clamped down, as 19 of the Yellow Jackets’ plays failed to gain or lost yards.

    What to Know About Louisville

    Lamar Jackson’s streak of five straight 100-yard rushing games dating to last season was stopped against Marshall last week, and the Thundering Herd did force him into some inaccurate throws. However, the electric dual-threat quarterback still has 13 touchdown passes and 12 scoring runs through four games. Jackson led the Cardinals to a 35-7 halftime lead last week, and two of his scoring passes covered 71 and 51 yards. Louisville surpassed 600 yards of total offense for the third time this season, and Jackson remains the Heisman Trophy frontrunner.

    Advantages

    Offense: Louisville. The Cardinals are No. 1 nationally in total offense.

    Defense: Clemson. The Tigers are No. 3 nationally in total defense behind only Miami and Kansas State. They are No. 5 in scoring defense, No. 15 in rushing defense and No. 3 in passing defense.

    Special Teams: Even. Clemson’s Ray-Ray McCloud is electric, while Louisville’s Jaire Alexander returned a punt 69 yards for a touchdown against Florida State.

    Coaching: Even. Swinney made the national title game last year, while Petrino is one of the smartest offensive minds in the country.

    Intangibles: Even. The Tigers are at home, but the Cardinals know they are on the cusp of something big.

    Matchup To Watch

    McCloud vs. Alexander

    This is really one of the most evenly matched games a college football fan will watch all season, so special teams can be a difference-maker. Clemson’s McCloud lines up all over the field offensively and also is a dangerous return man. Meanwhile, we saw what Louisville’s Alexander can do against FSU. A big play on special teams can turn the game around for either squad.

    Clemson vs. Louisville Betting Odds

    Spread: Clemson -2
    Over/Under: No line

    Clemson vs. Louisville Prediction

    This contest should be one of if not the best game on the ACC’s slate this season. The Tigers are starting to finally look in sync offensively, and the defense showed a nastiness against Georgia Tech. Meanwhile, the Cardinals easily passed what was supposed to be a major test against Florida State. Jackson will find things a little bit more difficult against this defense, but he’s also a special talent. Watson and this Clemson offense won’t be surprised by how good Louisville is defensively, and keep in mind that the Tigers were able to move the football against Alabama in the national title game last year. Expect a lot of offensive fireworks and big plays defensively, and expect Venables’ unit to get a key takeaway in the fourth quarter to help Swinney and Co. escape with a win.

    Clemson vs. Louisville Score Prediction: Clemson 37, Louisville 33

    MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 5

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