Clemson Football

Tiger Tracker: How did Clemson perform against Louisville?

September 17, 2017

Offense: A-

It wasn't a perfect outing by any means for the Tigers on offense. There is still some work to do shoring up the pass protection on the right side of the line, and Kelly Bryant was slightly erratic early, throwing balls high to his receivers. Those are things that could become serious issues in the future if not corrected. But for this game, it's just nitpicking.

Clemson racked up 613 yards of offense, Bryant ended the game at nearly 70 percent passing and the running back by committee approach yielded huge results on the ground with 297 yards and four touchdowns on 48 carries. It was the type of performance this offense needed early in the season on the road.

Defense: A

The only thing keeping this from being an A+ was one big drive for Louisville in the first half in which the defense looked totally confused. Other than that, it was another outstanding effort for Brent Venables and his nasty defense. The Tigers harassed reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson all night long, never letting him loose outside of one big run in the previously mentioned first half drive, and the Tigers even forced Jackson into his first interception in 128 pass attempts which was promptly returned for six points by Dorian O'Daniel.

After Louisville's first touchdown, they didn't find the endzone again until the Louisville first string scored on the Clemson second and third stringers in the fourth quarter with the game well out of hand. And even the backups for Clemson came up with a goal line stand late against Jackson. 

Special Teams: C

The only thing that kept special teams from falling below a passing grade was the outstanding job Will Spiers did punting the ball. He pinned Louisville inside their own five yard line on multiple occasions, helping the Tigers flip the field and set the defense up for success. Outside of that, Clemson's special teams weren't great.

Greg Huegel had an extra point blocked and he missed a field goal, Travis Etienne fumbled a kick off return inside the Tigers' own 5 yard line which set the offense up in terrible field position, and Clemson couldn't get anything going in the return game in general. This is an area that definitely needs to be improved going forward. You can't forget about special teams. 

Coaching: A+

What can you say about this coaching staff? The offensive game plan was brilliant, and it was on display from the start. The first drive of the game was a mix of the short passing game, a deep strike, and a powerful running attack all in one. The Clemson offense kept Louisville off balance all night, and then methodically took their shots down the field, resulting in huge, backbreaking plays.

Meanwhile, the defense harassed and confused Lamar Jackson all night, as they came with a variety of blitzes from all directions while at the same time dropping back and playing great coverage down the field. The coaching staff proved why they're among the best in the country, and why they've won 11 straight games on the road setting a new Clemson record. 



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