Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is going to need his supporting cast to show up on Saturday night when Clemson’s smothering defense visits Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.
Jackson, who so far has lived up to his Heisman credentials with more than a thousand yards and eight touchdowns, won’t face a tougher test this season.
Third-ranked Clemson had 11 sacks a week ago against Auburn, and seven of those came in the second half, so the gifted Jackson can’t count on dancing around long enough to win any battle of attrition. Clemson’s defensive front of Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell have plenty of fancy moves themselves.
While Jackson has scored eight of No. 14 Louisville’s nine TDs this season it’s unlikely he’ll be able to provide all the offensive juice against a Clemson defense that is one of the best in the nation. Receiver Jaylen Smith and others will need to step up and make plays for the Cardinals.
Last season’s game, which was won by Clemson 42-36, ultimately was the difference that put Clemson in the ACC Championship Game.
Jackson and the Cardinals are hoping to flip the script on Saturday.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Oklahoma State at Pitt, 11 a.m. CT, ESPN
Connecticut at Virginia, 11 a.m., ESPN2
Baylor at Duke, 11:30 a.m., ACC Network
Notre Dame at Boston College, 2:30 p.m., ESPN
Clemson at Louisville, 7 p.m., ABC
- Clemson (2-0): Last Week – W, Auburn, 14-6. The Impact – Tigers displayed championship caliber defense, making 11 sacks and surrendering just 117 yards, including only 13 rushing.
- Louisville (2-0, 1-0): Last Week – W, at North Carolina, 47-35. The Impact – Heisman winner Lamar Jackson accounted for 525 yards and six touchdowns, including 393 passing and three touchdowns and 132 rushing and three more scores.
- Miami (1-0): Last Week – Cancelled, Arkansas State. The Impact – Because of storm damage, Hurricanes now are forced to wait until Oct. 7 to stake their claim for state supremacy in the ACC against FSU.
- Florida State (0-1): Last Week – Cancelled, UL-Monroe. The Impact –Jimbo Fisher has been busy talking up plans for mega-facility upgrades since football factories can never have too many bells, whistles and shiny objects to attract recruits.
- Georgia Tech (1-1):Last Week – W, Jacksonville State, 37-10. The Impact – QB TaQuon Marshall completed just 5 of 7 passes for 112 yards but three went for six, including two to Ricky Jeune covering 27 and 23 yards.
6. Pittsburgh (1-1): Last Week – L, at Penn State, 33-14. The Impact – Panthers ran 88 plays, racked up 342 yards and controlled clock more than 38 minutes but had just two FGs through three quarters while losing rivalry game.
7. Virginia Tech (2-0): Last Week – W, Delaware, 27-0. The Impact – After Hokies struggled to get stops a week earlier they gave defensive coordinator Bud Foster his 32nd shutout at school.
8. N.C. State (1-1):Last Week – W, Marshall, 37-20. The Impact – After twice falling behind by 10 points, Wolfpack finally took control and scored 27 unanswered points.
9. Duke (2-0): Last Week – W, Northwestern, 41-17. The Impact – QB Daniel Jones was intercepted for first time in 202 passes but finished with 305 yards passing and two touchdowns and ran for another two scores and 108 yards.
10. Wake Forest (2-0, 1-0):Last Week – W, at Boston College, 34-10. The Impact – The Demon Deacons scored 21 points off four turnovers, including Essang Bassey’s pick-6 at Boston College.
11. Syracuse (1-1): Last Week – L, Middle Tennessee, 30-23. The Impact – Former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer returned to Carrier Dome as a defensive coordinator and walked away with an upset that already has severely damaged Orange’s bowl hopes.
12. Virginia (1-1): Last Week – L, Indiana, 34-14. The Impact – Three yards and cloud of dust would be an improvement for a Cavaliers team only averaging 2.6 yards per carry.
13. Boston College (1-1, 0-1): Last Week – L, Wake Forest, 34-10. The Impact — With Notre Dame visiting, the Eagles will stick with freshman Anthony Brown at quarterback despite three interceptions against Wake Forest with senior Darius Wade as backup.
14. North Carolina (0-2, 0-1):Last Week – L, Louisville, 47-35. The Impact – Tar Heels are 0-2 for first time since 2010 and gave up the most yards ever (705) to a home opponent but at least their fans got to celebrate the 2017 NCAA basketball title at halftime.
(All times Central. Winners in Bold Caps)
OKLAHOMA STATE at Pitt, 11 a.m. CT, ESPN
Connecticut at VIRGINIA, 11 a.m., ESPN2
Furman at N.C. STATE, 11:20 a.m., ACC Network
Baylor at DUKE, 11:30 a.m., ACC Network
Utah State at WAKE FOREST, 2 p.m., ACC Network Extra
NOTRE DAME at Boston College, 2:30 p.m., ESPN
VIRGINIA TECH at East Carolina, 2:30 p.m., CBSSN
Central Michigan at SYRACUSE, 2:30 p.m., ACC Network Extra
NORTH CAROLINA at Old Dominion, 2:30 p.m., Stadium
Clemson at LOUISVILLE, 7 p.m., ABC
Georgia Tech at UCF, cancelled
Miami at Florida State, reschedule Oct. 7