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What To Watch For: Clemson Tigers

Boston College v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

LOUISVILLE SHOULD DO EVERYTHING TO STOP THE RUN

Over the last few weeks, Louisville has been outright dominant when it comes to stopping the run. They put the clamps on Virginia and NC State while Boston College was held under four yards per carry. Louisville has at least contained the run outside of the Ole Miss game and the second half of the UCF game. They have to do the same this weekend.

Clemson has one group on the offense that has played well most of the season and it’s the running backs. They will look to run the ball to control the clock and hit big chunk runs. Lousivlle has been susceptible to big runs at times this season and Clemson won’t miss the opportunity to try to make those big plays.

LOUISVILLE SHOULD WORK THE EDGES ON OFFENSE

James Skalski is like a black hole in the middle of the Clemson defense and Lousivlle can’t just hope that they can somehow avoid him. Skalski had 18 tackles two weeks ago and I thin khe could’ve had more with the way the defensive line keeps him clean.

In my opinion, Louisville hasn’t done enough this year to stretch the field horizontally. It was something they did very well with Tutu Atwell with jet sweeps as well as quick screens to outside receivers. Misdirection in general has been lacking but I think Scott Satterfield should look to make Clemson defend the entire field this week. UofL may not get big plays from it, but it would help to sustain drives.

BRYAN BROWN NEEDS TO GO DOWN SWINGING

I don’t think that UofL is in a spot where they can’t win this game but I do think that they are obviously at a deficit when it comes to talent. That’s why I think that Bryan Brown should roll out the same game plan he used against Boston College. Brown made it very hard on Dennis Grosel and forced BC to ride their Quarterback which obviously failed.

Bryan Brown said this week that the key to stopping the Clemson passing attack is to show different looks but I think the real key is to suffocate the running game to the point that you make the offense one dimensional. That allows Brown to throw the kitchen sink at the passing game and live with the results. Wether that be turnovers and three and outs or it be big plays by an offensive that hasn’t been explosive all year.

SCOTT SATTERFIELD SHOULD DO THE SAME

You’ll be shocked to know that Clemson has an absurd defense this year that makes it really hard to run the ball. Well, they’re pass defense has had a handful of rough moments this year and teams that have come away with wins have done two things well.

Third downs have been the biggest factor as all three teams that have beaten Clemson were near or above 50% on third downs. The other consistent factor in those games was a steady passing game with a handful of deep balls mixed in. Scott Satterfield has to take some shots down the field on Saturday just as he did against NC State. UofL comes away with a win last week if they hit some of those throws. The fact that they didn’t doesn’t mean it wont’ work.

CAN LOUISVILLE MAKE THE PLAYS NEEDED TO WIN THE GAME THIS WEEK?

UofL has lost close games this year and as much as coaching factors into those losses, the coaches need the players to execute. You only get a handful of opportunities in the biggest games of the year. Teams are evenly matched or at least close to evenly matched and close games usually come down to a few plays. UofL hasn’t made those plays this year and that has to change.

Louisville’s top players have been inconsistent at best but they have to come to play on Saturday in order to pull the upset. Malik Cunningham has to make the big throws and protect the ball. The line has to open the holes and not commit penalties. the defense has to catch the ball when an interctption is there for the taking. If you want to win the big games you have to make the big plays.