Robert Jordan | Analyzed Sports
The 2016 National Champions come to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium for college gameday today. It will be an epic rematch of last years battle which came down to a last-second stop by Clemson on 4th down. This years matchup will be close to a reflection of last years game. Both teams are ranked in the top 15 and fighting for a top seed in the ACC and a win on the resume to get into the college football playoff.
Louisville is bringing back the 2016 Heisman winner and most of its offensive weapons back. Having one of the best players in college football is always a plus and it gives you a chance to win a big game like this. Seems that Lamar is trying to take his game to the next level. After coming off a game to where he threw 64%, 331 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Not including what he did with his legs which were 132 yards rushing with 3 touchdowns.
Two keys that I have seen in this small sample of the growth of the passing game is Lamar is starting to use his check downs and spreading the ball around to other receivers. This will be key to go against this Clemson defense that returns most of its starters from last years national championship team.
Louisville will have an uphill battle tonight. One key to a victory for the Cards will be can the new offensive line protect Lamar Jackson against this great Clemson defense. Having new starters on the offensive line and with some of them being freshmen, it will be important to watch the matchups in the trenches. The other issue that will be needed to be addressed is the secondary for the Cardinals. Louisville will need to find consistency from the secondary which is probably still going to be missing their best player. It will be key that Louisville doesn’t give up big plays to this Clemson football team this is coached by an offensive minded coach who will try to pick on Louisville’s weakness at that position.
Clemson is bringing a championship defense with them that has already played against Lamar Jackson. Last year, Clemson got to see Lamar Jackson show up close and almost watched him make a comeback and drive them down the field for a win. They will be better prepared this year after watching film. Another key positive Clemson has is they have one of the great coaches in college football. Dabo has proved to become one of the elite coaches over the years. Not only being able to compete for the National Championship twice in the last two years but also having top recruiting classes in the last couple of years. He has made a name for himself being able to make in-game adjustments and play to his players’ strengths.
Clemson will be facing its toughest road opponent early in the season after starting off the season slow on the offensive side of the ball. Bringing a new quarterback into a hostile environment isn’t a good place you want to be at this early in the season. He will be walking into a blackout and an excited crowd because of how big the game is and also the fact it’s college gameday, which will have the stadium probably the loudest it’s been since Florida State game. The last negative is that on the other side of the field is the 2016 Heisman winner that almost beat them last year on a drive that ended horribly for Louisville. Lamar is playing on a new level and is trying to make a case to be a two-time winner.
This will be a hard fought fight from both teams. I expect it to be a high-scoring game with a lot of big plays and highlights. You have two of the top 15 teams in the country going head to head. I don’t think neither team will be able to stop each other from scoring a ton of points, so I think the game will come down to who wins the turnover battle and who has the fewest penalties. I will be taking Louisville over Clemson 31-27.