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Clemson Football

Thoughts from the Field: Clemson 77, Louisville 16

November 6, 2018

This past weekend, my prediction for Clemson's game against Louisville was a 62-13 Tiger victory. It seemed ridiculous, but the more I looked at it the two teams, there was a huge talent gap. To think that my prediction was shy of the actual margin is absurd. For the fourth consecutive week, Clemson dismantled their opponent and it's becoming commonplace. Will that continue this weekend under the lights in Chestnut Hill?

Here are a few of my thoughts from Saturday.

Re-energized run game

Going into the Louisville game Travis Etienne had fallen off his torrid pace a bit, but the Cardinal’s rush defense was one of the worst rushing defenses entering the game and it showed. The opportunity knocked for Clemson to take advantage, and they did. Etienne rushed for 153 yards on 8 carries, as part of a rushing attack that ran for nearly 500 yards on the day.

Tony Elliott mentioned that Etienne needed to be more patient, wait on his blocks, then attack. However, with the running lanes created by the offensive line Saturday, it was smooth sailing. Etienne to his credit recognized the work of the lineman up front after the game.

“It’s just a testament to my offensive line doing their job and moving guys around to get to the second level, I’m just thankful for them,” Etienne said.

When this offense has three backs rush for over 100 yards as Etienne, Lyn-J Dixon and Tavien Feaster did, it only makes the Tiger offense more potent as we close in on the postseason.

Move over, Christian

Defensive tackle Christian Wilkins scored a touchdown last weekend against Florida State lining up in the i-formation behind Dexter Lawrence. This week, it was Lawrence's turn to get in on the action, scoring on a fullback dive putting Clemson up 42-3.

Lawrence played some running back before high school, and he explained the preparation that went into his touchdown run against the Cardinals.

“We’ve practiced it a couple of times. I tried to take advantage of my opportunity. ‘I’m a natural running back’ is what I tell myself. I stopped playing [running back] in high school, so ever since then, I was a running back. I know what to do with the ball a little bit,” Lawrence said.

Room for improvement?

We might have flipped the calendar to November, but the Tigers were still looked like they did all October: Elite. The question moving forward for Dabo Swinney’s team is where can they improve?

As we spoke to players and coaches Saturday, staying hungry and playing inspired football was on their minds and it doesn't seem like a lack of focus will become an issue moving forward.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and the focus of this group is special,” head coach Dabo Swinney said.

"They’re so committed to what we’re doing and what we want to accomplish. They prepare and practice the right way and believe in what they do. As coaches, we’re doing everything we can to help them get what they want to achieve. They want to be remembered forever, not just remembered.”

Isaiah Simmons told us that their performance seems ‘normal’ when asked what kind of high the team is riding on.

“It really all just seems normal. Not normal that we’re blowing everybody out, but it doesn’t seem like people are getting complacent with what’s going on. I think everyone is still hungry for more and I think that’s what’s really keeping the team as a whole going week to week,” Simmons said.

If blowing people out is becoming the norm, the Tigers are going to become more dangerous through the rest of November.

Thoughts from the Field: Clemson 77, Louisville 16

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