It was ugly. It was brutal. And it was merciless. Clemson had a nearly perfect outing as they rolled to a 77-16 win over Louisville in Death Valley.
The loss is historic for the Cardinals in many ways, all of them bad. The loss puts Louisville at 2-7, meaning the Cardinals likely see its first bowl-less season since 2009. They also allowed 13.3 yards per carry as the Tigers rushed for 492 yards against them, and Clemson’s 77 points are the second most allowed in Louisville football’s 100-year history.
As one could have expected with Clemson’s lofty 39-pojnt spread, the Tigers jumped ahead early and never even had to look back. They scored a touchdown on the first drive of the game in one minute and 15 seconds, coming on a ten-yard run from Travis Etienne. Tavian Feaster added another Clemson touchdown on the first play of their second drive, scoring effortlessly on a 70-yard run.
Louisville did get a 25-yard field goal from Blanton Creque on the following drive to cut it to 14-3.
However, Clemson scored three more touchdowns to close the first half with a 35-3 lead. Trevor Lawrence found Tee Higgins for an 11-yard passing touchdown. Then Clemson got a pick-six, with Isaiah Simmons intercepting Jawon Pass to extend their lead to 28-3. Lawrence would find Amari Rodgers on a three-yard passing touchdown before the end of the first half, and ending his day shortly after the second half started.
In the second half, Clemson continued their onslaught as they scored 42 more points, mostly on the heels of a powerful running game. Tavian Feaster and defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence each scored a two-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter, with backup quarterback Chase Brice throwing two touchdown passes to Trevion Thompson and Justyn Ross.
The fourth quarter rolled around, and Clemson continued to pile on touchdown after touchdown. Lyn-J Dixon scored a 55-yard touchdown after gashing the Louisville defense on his run, and Chase Brice found Will Swinney on an eight-yard passing touchdown. Clemson also had their final drive rolling at the end of the game with emergency quarterback Derion Kendrick in, but time ran out before Clemson could possibly have hit the 80-point mark.
Louisville would find its second half points on a 93-yard kickoff return touchdown from Hassan Hall, and a ten-yard rushing touchdown from backup quarterback Malik Cunningham.
As mentioned, it was an awesome day for Clemson’s rushing attack. The Tigers had 492 rushing yards on 37 carries, averaging an unbelievable 13.3 yards per carry. They had three 100-yard rushers, with Travis Etienne (eight carries, 153 yards, one touchdown), Lyn-J Dixon (four carries, 116 yards, one touchdown), and Tavian Feaster (six carries, 101 yards, two touchdowns) all reaching the century mark. Clemson also had five touchdown passes as a team, with Chase Brice (6-of-7, 110 yards, three touchdowns) leading the way.
Louisville, however, finished with 231 total passing yards and two interceptions. They also had 81 total rushing yards on 2.3 yards per carry. Jaylen Smith led all Louisville receivers with five catches for 63 yards. Anthony Johnson intercepted Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the second quarter, which was Louisville’s third of the season as a team.
Up next, Louisville heads north to face Syracuse in a Friday night game.