LOUISVILLE, KY - It was an ugly first quarter for both teams, trading turnovers back and forth for a combined 3 points, but the one constant was the Tigers' stifling defense, which held the Cardinals' high-powered offense to just 3 points until late in the game and 263 total yards.
Trevor Lawrence played the worst quarter of his career in the first, throwing two perplexing interceptions in the Louisville end zone--both of which were highly uncharacteristic. He also missed high to a wide-open J.C. Chalk for at least a first and goal and possibly a touchdown. However, Trevor was able to put the bad plays behind him as all champions do, and he was sensational for the rest of the game, making two incredible tight-window throws in the back of the end zone in the 2nd quarter.
Travis Etienne was also sensational, rushing for 192 yards and a touchdown on just 14 carries. It was his best game since the opener against Georgia Tech.
The defense stole the show, though. Without First-Team All-ACC candidate Xavier Thomas, the Tigers were still able to wreak havoc in the Cardinals' backfield, recording 6 sacks and 11 tackles-for-loss, producing turnovers including 2 more interceptions. The Tigers were among the nation's leaders in interceptions coming into the game and now have 10 on the season. The first on Saturday was a big one by K'von Wallace in the end zone after Louisville was poised to score on its opening possession.
B.T. Potter worked his way back into Dabo's good graces by making a career-long 51-yard field goal for the Tigers' only points in the first quarter. He is likely the starter once again for the time being, as Sawicki missed his only attempt from 44 yards, but Potter will be on a short leash in the next game or two.
John Simpson left the game with an injury, as Derion Kendrick with turf toe. True freshman corner Andrew Booth was ejected from the game for throwing a punch after an altercation during a punt return. Both Dabo and Venables said the outburst was highly uncharacteristic of Booth, and he will be disciplined accordingly for his loss of control.
The Defending Champs have now won 22 straight and 22 of their last 23 true road games. Clemson is the only team in the nation with 6 wins versus the Power Five, and 6 of their 7 wins this season have been blowouts.
I have to hit the road but will have more for you tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Clemson has now scored 40 points in consecutive games for the second time this season, joining back-to-back contests at Syracuse and vs. Charlotte.
Clemson entered the game having scored 42, 47 and 77 points in its last three meetings with Louisville. With another 40-point performance Saturday, Clemson has now scored at least 40 points in four straight games in a series with an ACC opponent for the first time in school history.
Clemson is now averaging 42.3 points per game against Louisville in six all-time meetings, Clemson's highest all-time average against an opponent presently in a Power Five conference.
Clemson totaled 551 yards and has now produced 500 yards of total offense in back-to-back games for the first time since a two-game stretch last season against these same two teams (Florida State and Louisville).
Clemson rushed for 298 yards and improved to 60-1 when rushing for 200+ yards under Head Coach Dabo Swinney.
Clemson’s 8.05 yards-per-carry average was its second-best of the season, trailing its 8.39 average in the season opener against Georgia Tech.
Clemson has now rushed for 275 or more yards in back-to-back games for the first time this season and the first time since the South Carolina and Pitt games in 2018.
Clemson also surpassed 200 passing yards and pushed its record under Swinney to 46-0 when both passing and rushing for 200 or more yards in both categories in his tenure.
Six different players (Joseph Ngata, Justyn Ross, Cornell Powell, Travis Etienne, Darien Rencher and Chez Mellusi) scored touchdowns for Clemson (three receiving and three rushing).
Clemson has now rushed for multiple touchdowns in eight consecutive games for the first time since a nine-game streak to open the 2018 season.
Clemson outgained Louisville in passing yards, 253-107, and has produced more passing yards than its opponent in 10 consecutive games, dating to last season, for the first time since an 18-game streak across the 2015-17 seasons.
Clemson held Louisville to 263 total yards after the Cardinals entered the contest ranked 16th in the country and third in the conference averaging 489.0 yards per game.
Clemson has now held opponents below 300 yards of total offense in seven straight games for the first time since an eight-game stretch in 1956.
By holding Louisville to 107 passing yards, Clemson held a fifth consecutive opponent below 200 passing yards for the first time since the final four games of the 2017 season and the 2018 season opener. During Clemson's current run of four consecutive College Football Playoff berths since 2015, Clemson has held opponents below 200 passing yards 40 times, second-most in the country, with a 39-1 record in those contests.
Clemson forced three takeaways. The back-to-back games with at least three takeaways mark Clemson’s first such stretch since forcing three takeaways against Auburn and Troy in each of the first two games of the 2016 season.
Clemson has now recorded multiple takeaways in consecutive games for the second time this season, joining the team’s first two games of the season vs. Georgia Tech and Texas A&M.
Clemson has now won the turnover margin in consecutive games for the first time since opening the season with a positive turnover margin in each of the first two games of the season. Clemson improved to 51-3 record when winning the turnover margin since 2011.
Clemson recorded six sacks, two shy of its season high set at Syracuse.
Clemson has now posted multiple sacks in 15 consecutive games for the first time since the 2012-13 seasons. It represents Clemson's fourth multi-sack streak of 15 games or more since 1980 (18 from 1991-92, 17 from 1998-99, 15 from 2012-13).
Running back Travis Etienne rushed 14 times for 192 yards with one touchdown. His 192 yards represent his second-highest total of the season and the third-highest total in his career.
In three career games against Louisville, Etiennehas now rushed 28 times for 443 yards (15.8 yards per carry) with three touchdowns. Etienne posted six carries for 98 yards and a touchdown at Louisville in 2017 and rushed eight times for 153 yards with a touchdown against Louisville in 2018.
Etienne’s 192 yards were the most by a Clemson player against Louisville all-time, surpassing his own mark of 153 set last year.
During the contest, Etienne (3,205) passed Travis Zachery (3,058) for sixth on Clemson's all-time rushing yardage leaderboard.
Etienne recorded his 12th career 100-yard rushing game to enter the Top 5 in school history in the category, tying Andre Ellington and C.J. Spiller (12 each) for fourth on that list. He is now five games shy of Wayne Gallman's school career record of 17 from 2014-16.
Etienne has now rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games for the first time this season and the first time since a three-game streak against South Carolina, Pitt and Notre Dame last season.
With Etienne’s performance and the victory, Clemson is now 43-2 when having a 100-yard rusher since 2011.
Etienne averaged 13.7 yards per carry in the contest, marking the 11th time in his career he’s averaged 10.0 yards per carry in a game on at least five attempts to tie Colin Kaepernick for the most by any FBS player since 2000.
Etienne recorded a 49-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter. It was Etienne’s 43rd career rushing touchdown, pulling him within four of James Davis' school record for career rushing touchdowns (47 from 2005-08).
Etienne also caught four passes for 35 yards. His four receptions tied his career high set earlier in the season against Texas A&M.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed 20-of-29 passes for 233 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed 10 times for 47 yards.
Lawrence has now thrown a touchdown pass in 17 consecutive games and has thrown a touchdown in 21 of his 22 career games.
Lawrence has now thrown three touchdown passes in back-to-back games for the first time since last year's College Football Playoff, when he threw three touchdown passes against both Notre Dame and Alabama.
Clemson as a team has now thrown three or more touchdowns in back-to-back games for the second time this season (at Syracuse and vs. Charlotte).
During the contest, Lawrence (4,814) passed Rodney Williams (4,647) and Kyle Parker (4,739) to move into seventh on the school's all-time leaderboard for career passing yards.
Lawrence’s second touchdown pass of the game was the 43rd of his career, pushing him past Cullen Harper (42) for the fourth-most career passing touchdowns in school history.
By virtue of his 280 combined rushing and passing yards in the game, Lawrence (5,178) became the ninth player in school history to record 5,000 career yards of total offense.
During the contest, Lawrence tied Travis Zachery (50) for sixth on Clemson's all-time leaderboard for total touchdown responsibility.
Wide receiver Joseph Ngata recorded a six-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, his second career touchdown catch.
Ngata also added a career-long 40-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, surpassing his previous career long of 38.
Wide receiver Justyn Ross caught his fourth touchdown reception of the season on a 25-yard pass from Lawrence with five seconds remaining in the first half.
Ross has now recorded a touchdown reception in back-to-back games for the first time since games against Notre Dame and Alabama in last year’s College Football Playoff.
Wide receiver Cornell Powell caught his career-high second touchdown pass of the season on a 10-yard pass from Lawrence in the fourth quarter.
Wide receiver Amari Rodgers recorded a 61-yard reception in the second quarter, his second-longest reception of the season behind an 87-yard touchdown reception against Syracuse.
Running back Darien Rencher scored the first touchdown of his career on an eight-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. He became the 13th different Clemson player to record a touchdown by any means this season.
Running back Chez Mellusi added his second rushing touchdown of the season on a 16-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.
Safety K’Von Wallace recorded an interception on Louisville’s opening drive. It was Wallace’s second interception of the season -- his first since the fourth game of the season against Charlotte -- and fifth of his career.
Wallace’s interception represented the first time Clemson had recorded a takeaway on an opponent’s opening drive since last year’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game, when cornerback A.J. Terrell picked off Tua Tagovailoa on Alabama’s opening drive.
Defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney recorded the team’s second takeaway of the game, grabbing a fumble forced by defensive end Justin Foster in midair. It was the second fumble recovery of Pinckney’s career and his first since recovering one against Georgia Southern in the third game of the 2018 season.
On the play, Foster recorded the first forced fumble of his career on the sack.
Foster added his career-high second sack of the game in the third quarter.
Cornerback A.J. Terrell recorded his first interception of the season in the fourth quarter, his first since the College Football Playoff National Championship Game against Alabama last season.He now has five career interceptions.
Linebacker Isaiah Simmons tied his career high with 2.0 sacks, matching his performance at Syracuse earlier in the season. It was his second career multi-sack game.
Simmons now has 6.0 sacks this season, adding to his single-season career high.
Defensive tackle Tyler Davis recorded his fourth sack of his freshman season in the third quarter.
Linebacker Chad Smith recorded his second sack of the season in the third quarter.
Kicker B.T. Potter opened the game’s scoring with a 51-yard field goal on Clemson’s first offensive possession. It tied his career long set in the season opener against Georgia Tech. With Potter’s field goal and the victory, Clemson is now 44-0 when scoring first since 2015.
Potter’s second field goal of 50-plus yards this season pulled him within one of the single-season school record of three, set by Richard Jackson in 2009.
Louisville running back Javian Hawkins exceeded 100 rushing yards, snapping Clemson’s streak of 27 consecutive games without allowing a 100-yard rusher. He became the first opponent to rush for 100 yards on Clemson since Georgia Tech’s KirVonte Benson on Oct. 28, 2017.
Captains for the contest were safety Denzel Johnson, wide receiver Diondre Overton, wide receiver Amari Rodgers and safety Nolan Turner.
WITH THE WIN…
Clemson won its 22nd consecutive game, dating to the start of the 2018 season, to extend the longest winning streak in school history and second-longest winning streak in ACC history.
Clemson has now won 16 consecutive ACC regular season games for the second time in school history (20 from 1981-84).
Clemson earned its sixth win against a Power Five opponent this season. Clemson’s six Power Five wins this season are the most in the country.
Clemson opened a season 7-0 for the eighth time in school history, joining the 1948, 1981, 2000, 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2018 campaigns.
Clemson pushed its all-time record against Louisville to 6-0. It marks the fifth time all-time (and the second time against a school presently in the FBS) that Clemson opened a series against an opponent with six consecutive wins. The Tigers previously won each of their first six all-time contests in series with The Citadel, Furman, Newberry and Virginia.
Clemson improved to 3-0 all-time on the road at Louisville.
Clemson has now won 15 consecutive games when ranked lower in the AP Poll than in its previous contest. Clemson is now 23-4 under Swinney when playing a game at a lower AP ranking than in its previous contest, including season openers in which Clemson opened lower than it finished the prior season.
Clemson won its 10th straight true road game, pulling Clemson within two games of the school-record 12-game streak from 2015-17.
Clemson earned its 22nd victory in its last 23 true road games and collected its 35th victory in its last 38 games away from home.
With a 7-0 advantage in the game in the category, Clemson pushed its record to 41-1 since 2015 when outscoring opponents in the "Middle Eight," defined as the final four minutes of the first half and the first four minutes of the second half.
Clemson pushed its winning streak in Saturday games to 36 to extend the longest Saturday winning streak in school history. Clemson's current 36-game run of consecutive Saturday victories is the longest active streak in the country.
Clemson has now won 65 of its last 69 games overall dating to 2014 and has now won 39 of its last 41 games against ACC teams.
Clemson led 17-3 at halftime has now won 72 of its last 74 games when leading at halftime. Clemson also improved to 93-2 since 2011 when leading after three quarters.
Clemson has now won 31 of its last 32 games against ACC Atlantic Division teams.
Clemson has now won 68 of its last 70 games against unranked teams.
Clemson has now won 75 straight games when holding teams under 23 points (dates to 2010).
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