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What To Watch For: Clemson Tigers

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The #W2W4 this week focuses on what Clemson will do.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

CLEMSON WILL RUN THE BALL AT WILL

The Tigers average just a bit over six yards per carry this year but three of their running backs average over seven yards. This team can really get things going when they commit to the run and Travis Etienne is a big play machine. It’s been reported that Clemson is running their offense with an call that includes a run or a pass and Trevor Lawrence chooses which play to run at the line. I’m not sure if that’s the case or not, but they have gotten away from the run a bit over the last two weeks. I don’t think that will happen against Louisville.

CLEMSON WILL TAKE MORE SHOTS DOWN THE FIELD THAN NORMAL

Clemson has a few guys at receiver that are a threat to score every time they touch the ball. Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross are the guys outside while Amari Rogers and Hunter Renfrow are the inside guys that can run after the catch. With Trevor Lawrence taking over at quarterback, they’ve gone back to stretching the field more than they did with Kelly Bryant.

I think that they will look to throw the ball down the field a lot against Louisville. Brian VanGorder will likely blitz a lot with the hopes to rattle him or rush him and Clemson will counter that with deep passes to their gifted outside receivers. Higgins and Ross have both had a couple of huge plays on deep passes and I don’t think that any Louisville defensive back has shown that they can hang with either of them.

THE CLEMSON DEFENSIVE FRONT WILL SET A SEASON HIGH FOR SACKS

As good as Clemson’s front is, they are only tied for eight in the country in sacks. Wake Forest, NC State, and Syracuse all do a great job of getting the ball out of the quarterback’s hand quickly so the defensive front didn’t have as much of a chance to get after the quarterback.

The Louisville offensive line is the worst in the ACC per Pro Football Focus and they’re the worst line that Clemson has faced outside of Furman. On top of that, Louisville will continue to run routes that take time to develop and that will allow this defensive front the time they need to get to Jawon Pass. I also think that Brent Venables will dial up some simple blitzes for this game in an effort to confuse Pass. Louisville hasn’t handled blitzes well at all, so I would be surprised if Clemson doesn’t bring guys in passing situations.

CLEMSON’S DEFENSE WILL FIX THEIR ISSUES WITH FORCING TURNOVERS

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Louisville will likely throw the ball at least 50 times against Clemson. With that amount of drop backs and Clemson’s ability to rush the passer, I think that they will be able to force a few turnovers. Clemson has only forced 13 so far this year with most of them being fumble recoveries. They haven’t had the same success with picking off passes. That will likely change this week.

Louisville quarterbacks have thrown 10 interceptions on the year and many of them have been poor decisions as opposed to pressure situations where the defense “forces” a bad pass. Clemson will absolutely force some bad passes this week and I think that Their secondary and linebackers will take full advantage of those bad throws.