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Clemson Football

2018 Opponent Series: Louisville - Nov. 3

August 23, 2018

Over the next two weeks, we will be giving you an inside look at every opponent on Clemson's schedule. The road to a fourth straight ACC Championship and another College Football Playoff trip begins September 1 against Furman.

2018 Opponent Series

Lamar Jackson, the former Heisman Trophy winner, who amassed over 4,000 yards of total offense during his time with the Cardinals is gone from the sidelines at Louisville. Despite losing Jackson, head coach Bobby Petrino expects things to move smoothly for the Cards in 2018.

“I expect us to be better. I expect us to be more balanced, the ability to get more guys involved, particularly in the running game,” Petrino said at ACC Media Days in July.

All eyes will now be on redshirt sophomore Jawon "Puma" Pass, who will replace Jackson, but the good news is for Louisville fans is that the Cards may not have to rely on the running game completely in 2018.

© Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports
Jawon "Puma" Pass will be the guy to replace Lamar Jackson in 2018.

The returning receiving corps for the Cardinals looks stout, led by senior Jaylen Smith, junior Seth Dawkins and sophomore Dez Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick broke the school’s freshman record with nine touchdowns in 2017 and looks to have another big season.

Smith is optimistic about what their sophomore quarterback brings to the table.

“He learned a lot, and you can see he's learned the plays, he's learned the progressions. His physicality is not a question to me, but what I like about him is his demeanor. He's a guy who's very cool, calm, and collected at all moments of time,” Smith said at the ACC Kickoff. 

Recently Petrino had to suspend his tight ends coach Chris Klenakis following a DUI arrest this past weekend. That's certainly not an ideal situation this close to the season.

"He's learned a lot, and you can see he's learned the plays, he's learned the progressions."
- Jaylen Smith on QB "Puma" Pass 

Louisville’s defense is under the direction of a new defensive coordinator as Brian Van Gorder comes over from Notre Dame. The Cardinals are looking to bounce back from a tough 2017, something that junior Jonathan Greenard knows wasn’t up to the standard of Louisville football.

“U of L football has always been defensive-minded. (We've) always had a dominant defense no matter what year or what the case may be, so to realize that we gave up that many points, that was very uncharacteristic,” Greenard said at the ACC Kickoff.”

Can the Louisville defense put it all together in 2018? Their first test comes quickly against the defending national champions in a little over a week.

Louisville Cardinals

Head coach: Bobby Petrino, 5th year at Louisville**

Last season: 8-5 overall, 4-4 in ACC play; lost to Mississippi State 31-27 in Taxslayer Gator Bowl

Returning starters: 7 offense, 5 defense

Players to Watch

Jonathan Greenard (Defensive linemen, RSr.) - The Hiram, Ga. native will not only be leaned on as a leader of the defensive line, but the entire Louisville defense. Greenard looks to top off his Cardinal career strong as he led the team with 15.5 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks in 2017

Seth Dawkins (Wide receiver, Jr.) - Dawkins had an impressive sophomore campaign as he had 42 catches for 642 yards and four touchdowns. Dawkins will be a part of a receiving core for the Cards that could be one of the best in the ACC and the country.

Dorian Etheridge (Linebacker, soph.) - Etheridge returns for his second year under a new defensive coordinator, but brings experience to the table. Etheridge was a freshman All-American last year, registering 83 tackles and three tackles for a loss in 2017.

2018 Schedule 

Sept. 1 - vs. Alabama (in Orlando, Fla)

Sept. 8 - vs. Indiana State

Sept. 15 - vs. Western Kentucky

Sept. 22 - at Virginia

Sept. 29 - vs. Florida State

Oct. 5 (Fri.) - vs. Georgia Tech

Oct. 13 - at Boston College

Oct. 27 - vs. Wake Forest

Nov. 3 - at Clemson

Nov. 9 (Fri.) - at Syracuse

Nov. 17 - vs. NC State

Nov. 24 - vs. Kentucky

** Petrino also coached at Louisville from 2003-2006. Counting those seasons this would be his 9th year at Louisville.

HOME games in bold

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2018 Opponent Series: Louisville - Nov. 3

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