September 16, 2017
Clemson contained Lamar Jackson as well as anyone else in college football to earn a 47-21 road win over Louisville on Saturday night.
The 2016 Heisman Trophy winner threw three touchdown passes, although two came after his team was too far back to pull off the upset.
Kelly Bryant took care of business on the other end with three total touchdowns to lead the No. 3 Tigers to a key ACC victory and their eighth straight win overall dating back to last season.
Few teams have shown the ability to limit Jackson over the past two seasons, but the Tigers held him in check in the first half and were uncatchable in the second.
While Jackson ended up with respectable numbers, finishing with 317 passing yards and 64 rushing yards, it was far from his best outing.
The Clemson defense, which also scored a touchdown, was impressive throughout the win:
Bryant was the individual star of the game, though, as the quarterback finished with 316 passing yards, one passing touchdown and two rushing scores in just his third career start.
While everyone was singing his praises based on the solid play, no one had a more powerful statement than former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson:
Considering what Watson accomplished both individually and with the team, this is quite a compliment. Bryant helped the Tigers outgain the Cardinals 613-433 in the dominant victory.
Jackson did have a few highlight-reel plays in the first half, breaking off a long run and completing this touchdown pass on the run to tie the game at 7-7, as ESPN relayed:
However, the Clemson defense otherwise held him in check early, limiting him to just 83 passing yards in the first half.
Bryant had no problem racking up yards against the Cardinals defense, building up a 19-7 halftime lead behind 238 passing yards. The junior got 79 of those on this big play to Ray-Ray McCloud:
Competing in his first road game as a starter, the quarterback turned heads from the opening kickoff:
Although the Tigers had dominated for much of the night, though, the score remained close in the third quarter. This was until Dorian O’Daniel picked off Jackson and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 26-7.
Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports noted that the play was surprising:
After forcing another three-and-out, Clemson put the game away with a 11-play scoring drive capped by Bryant’s second rushing touchdown of the day.
Every time the Cardinals fought back from there, the Tigers answered, keeping plenty of breathing room through the end. Thanks to long touchdown runs from Adam Choice and Travis Etienne, the visitors finished with 297 rushing yards at 6.2 per carry.
Both teams likely still have sights on the ACC championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff, but the Cardinals will probably have to be perfect from here.
Louisville has a few nonconference games to rack up wins against Kent State and Murray State while Clemson will return home to face Boston College next week.
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