Louisville still has Marshall to play this weekend before the big showdown at Death Valley with the Clemson Tigers. I’m going to assume Louisville takes care of business. I think that is a safe bet. Thursday night Clemson headed to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech.
The Tigers won 26-7, and a couple of things are painfully obvious about the Clemson team. Brent Venables has built another outstanding defense. Clemson held the Yellow Jackets to 95 yards rushing, and 7 points. They are giving up just 11 points a game. Dexter Lawrence is a monster as a freshman DT and is a future All-American and NFL 1st rounder. The Clemson defense will be Louisville’s toughest challenge of the year. They are arguably more talented than Florida State’s defense and certainly better coached.
Here’s the concern for Clemson. QB Lamar Jackson and the Louisville offense is too good to be shutdown. It isn’t happening. Louisville may not score in the 50s or 60s, but they will get their points. Clemson’s offense is going to have put at least 27+ points on the board to win and I’m not sure they can.
The Tigers struggled to score against Auburn, Troy, and now Georgia Tech. For about 10 minutes Thursday, Clemson’s offense looked Louisville ready. The rest of the night it was collection of overthrows, poor blocking, tentative running, and struggles on third down. It is basically what we’ve seen out of Clemson’s offense all season against any credible opponent.
The issues may not be fixable at this point. The offensive line isn’t going to magically get better, and now white hot Louisville comes to town firing on all cylinders on both sides of the ball.
Clemson has more than a week to try and again sort out the problems with the offense. I don’t buy the excuse that Clemson took their foot off the gas either. There was a reason Dabo Swinney has his starters in the entire game. He was trying to develop some offensive consistency chemistry that simply isn’t there yet.
If Clemson is going to beat Louisville they better find some answers on offense and soon.