Louisville looked like a one-man offense coming in - Jackson providing almost 83 percent of its yardage (a year ago, he was at 73 percent) - and Tigers coordinator Brent Venables' defense exposed the Cardinals as such.
CT (1-0) at Virginia (1-1), 12 p.m. (ESPN2): Painful memories for the Cavaliers from last year's game - kicker Alex Furbank missed a 20-yard field-goal attempt as time expired, after Bobby Puyol put the Huskies ahead 13-10 with a field goal with just over three minutes left.
"If Louisville is going to win this football game, it's not going to be just Lamar Jackson", Herbstreit said.
"I'm looking forward to it", he said, adding they've spoken this week. Give us the Bulldogs not just to cover the spread but to pull off the big upset here and win outright, exactly how our numbers see it. How often does the reigning national champion take on the reigning Heisman Trophy victor on national television?
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said Clemson's Venables does a good job mixing up coverages and adjusting to the opponents' attack. Obviously, they've got a great defensive front and linebackers that can really run. "They play the run well". But we know what he meant. Going back to the College Football Playoff games previous year against Ohio State and Alabama, Venables was able to game plan effectively against J.T. Barrett and Jalen Hurts - two quarterbacks who didn't really pose any passing threat vertically. "Little league football, super bowls, regular season.we never played on the same team, always played against each other".
The Cardinal offense boasts the reigning Heisman Trophy victor Lamar Jackson, ACC wide receiver of the week Jaylen Smith and running back Reggie Bonnafon - who made the move to running back full-time this spring. It was a game Louisville trailed 28-10 at the half before scoring 26 unanswered points to lead 36-28 with 7:52 remaining. Clemson's defensive line, however, makes the task a tall one for the Cardinals, and that will ultimately be the difference.
A year ago when Clemson played Louisville, it was hyped as a showdown between quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson.
Junior cornerback Jaire Alexander's absence with a knee injury against Purdue hasn't helped and is uncertain for Clemson, though Petrino said he's progressing. "We talk a lot, and I'm telling him I'm ready to get after him". Then, when I flipped on my TV to ESPN2, I saw Iowa and Iowa State locked in a thrilling shootout that went until overtime. "To be able to have that poise in the pocket, to feel it and see it, to have that quick release and accuracy says a lot about his maturity and how far he has come in his game".
The man in charge of making sure Jackson gets contained Saturday, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, also voiced high praise for Jackson in the Courier-Journal. Jackson accounted for seven touchdowns (five running and two passing) and unofficially rushed for 150 yards while throwing for 325. "We're not trying to win the stats war", he said. However, one game truly packs a punch, but the other games are merely significant for the teams involved and are not likely to affect the College Football Playoff. Compelling arguments for either side to win the game may be made...