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Clemson vs. Louisville Film Review: Tigers take the lead in the 2nd

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In which the game was won

Clemson v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Louisville and Clemson enter the second tied 7-7, with Clemson’s Ray-Ray McCloud returning the ball to about the Clemson forty yard line to start the quarter. Clemson was able to string together a run of four consecutive drives that either ended in a touchdown or a field goal attempt. Louisville’s inability to string together drives really showed here. Louisville had drives lasting three, four, five and three plays again. Three ended in a punt and one ended with time expiring. The Tigers didn’t turn the ball over and were able to keep Lamar Jackson from getting into a rhythm. Once halftime arrived the Tigers were leading the time of possession battle by nearly twenty minutes to ten, up nine points and receiving the kick to start the third.

14:50, Clemson Ball, Clemson 40

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 11 trips vs. 4-2 QB power away from trips, Falcinelli and Feaster do enough kicking out the end and lead blocking to open a hole for Bryant, who scampers for an easy first down before being brought down by the corner. Louisville liked to align their rush end away from the tight end, by kicking this rush end out Clemson took advantage of Louisville's lack of size at the position.
1st and 10 10 vs. 4-1 All curls, quick throw and catch to Tee Higgins outside, dragged out of bounds just short of a first down Louisville doesn't have the secondary talent to press like Auburn was able to and these receivers can make plays in the quick passing game given any kind of cushion.
2nd and 3 20 vs. 4-2 Inside zone, tight end seals backside, dragged down when a defensive tackle beats John Simpson's block Choice never had a chance with instant penetration in the A gap.
3rd and 3 11 vs. 4-2 Jet sweep motion, naked bootleg, running back releases and holds the flat defender, Renfrow comes open behind a linebacker and Kelly Bryant is able to make the throw on the run. Clemson isn't blocking the end to the playside, relying on the run fake to freeze the end or Kelly Bryant to outrun him. Renfrow does a textbook job of "getting under the will and over the mike" to create seperation on the dig route.

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 11 trips vs. 4-2 Nickel shows blitz off the tight end, MLB blitz, looks like Bryant and the running back are on entirely different pages and Bryant is run out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage Communication miscue, based on what the OL and Bryant did I think it was supposed to be a zone read but hard to say.
2nd and 16 20 vs. 4-2 Feaster motions out of the backfield while the OL + TE block power, RPO, Bryant makes the right read and dumps the ball to an open Feaster in the flats Bryant looks like he's reading the playside linebacker who stays at home against power here. McCloud is fantastic at blocking in space.

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
3rd and 9 11 (fullback and tight end) trips vs. 4-2 Motion McCloud from the trips side, play action jet sweep roll out, throwback to McCloud and we're fortunate that was dropped The offensive staff got a little more cute than you'd like to see and fortunately it didn't end in a turnover. Clemson was moving the ball at will before being set back by a six yard loss on a broken play.

Field Goal No Good

Louisville Ball, Louisville 25, 11:52

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 10 vs. 4-2 Play action power read, receiver screen to the field side, Van Smith there almost immediately before D'oD cleans up the tackle Louisville got the look it wanted, Seth Dawkins just couldn't shake anyone loose once he got the ball and Clemson's speed is able to turn four yard gains into two
2nd and 8 10 vs. 4-2 QB power, D'oD on a delayed nickel blitz, Ferrell is able to come from the backside and envelop the play at the line of scrimmage Both ends were able to collapse this running play, there just isn't anywhere for Jackson to go.
3rd and 6 11 trips away from te vs. 4-2 Motion RB Bonnafon to TE side, he's probably open on a curl route but there's immediate pressure up the middle and Jackson is lucky to spin out of it and throw the ball away. Clemson blitzed Kendall Joseph while dropping Austin Bryant in pass coverage towards the trips side. This lets Clemson leave seven defenders for coverage purposes while sending pressure. It's a favored blitz of Venables and Clemson can run it with man or zone behind.

Punt

Clemson Ball, Clemson 45, 10:22

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 Empty vs. 4-1 Slants to the trips side, curls to the two receiver side, slant route thrown to McCloud knocked out of his hands. Good play by the defender to punch it out. Another mirrored quick game concept, the curls attack zone defenses and man is weak against slants. Bryant just has to identify the coverage and read half the field.
2nd and 10 10 trips vs. 4-2 Blitz from the weak side linebacker and nickel, play action, Milan Richards finds himself in the grass vacated by the blitzing linebacker and makes a catch before being brought down by the deep safety Bryant was able to get the ball to a hot read on a play action, Louisville sent six but couldn't create pressure.
1st and 10 20 vs. 4-2 Louisville blitzes the safety and drops the rush end again, shifting into an almost 3-4 front with the safety and rush end serving as OLB hybrids, pass rush picked up by Fuller and Richards, deep out to McCloud complete McCloud made an incredible catch on the run but the ball was well thrown
2nd and 2 10 vs. 4-2 Louisville is showing one high, MLB blitz off the weakside edge, cover three zone blitz, Bryant is able to elude the pass rush and take off for a gain of fourteen yards against a secondary that looks like it's playing in quicksand Fuller picked up the defensive end after Crowder got stuck on the slanting defensive tackle and probably saved a sack.
1st and 10 11 vs. 4-2 One MLB showing blitz, five man rush, buck sweep, penetration keeps Hearn from lead blocking but Fuller still able to churn forward for a few yards after contact It looks like Pollard whiffed on blocking the blitzing linebacker
2nd and 3 20 trips unbalanced vs. 4-2 Play action, fake screen, none of the deep routes comes open, Bryant tries to scramble and is able to gain a couple yards If any of the receivers come open it's a touchdown instead of a field goal, as it went Bryant was able to use his feet on a broken play
3rd and 2 01 vs. 4-2 Jet sweep motion, QB power, Bryant tackled immediately by the linebacker following the motioning running back Clemson didn't have the numbers at the point of attack and a physical tackle was enough to end the drive.

Field Goal Good: Clemson 10, Louisville 7

Louisville Ball, Louisville 21, 6:50

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 11 trips vs. 4-2 Play action power read, Jackson throws to Dawkins on a curl route to the field, brought down shortly after the first down marker Clemson doesn't have enough defenders to the trips side and Louisville is trying to take advantage before Venables adjusts
1st and 10 11 trips vs. 4-2 Play action, screen to Dawkins to the trips side, dragged down by Van Smith in pursuit Coming back because of holding
1st and 18 10 vs. 4-2 Curls inside, fades outside, throw to the field side broken up, Isaiah Simmons threw the receiver around The receiver wasn't looking in the balls direction, pressure forced a bad throw
2nd and 18 11 trips vs. 4-2 Play action power read, tight end releases on a wheel route, corner blitz from the one receiver side by Mullen forces Jackson to scramble free, he steps up and throws a laser, dropped by Samuel The corner blitz worked perfectly, with Jackson not even seeing it coming as he read the play to the trips side. Venables has been able to get pressure from pretty much anywhere this game. Clemson is in cover three here, almost getting burnt as Van Smith takes a while to rotate to the sideline.

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
3rd and 18 11 vs. 4-2 Three verts, Bonnafon leaks out of the backfield and pressure forces Jackson to make a throw, pass falls incomplete It probably wouldn't have been enough for a first down but Bonnafon dropping the ball costs the Cardinals a good bit of field position.

Punt

Clemson Ball, Clemson 10, 5:31

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 11 trips vs. 4-2 Inside zone handoff, tight end seals the backside end, good push up the middle, especially by Morris. Gain of four. Clemson is rotating a lot of offensive linemen early in this game. Clemson's ability to sustain drives has kept Lamar Jackson off the field and kept the defense fresh later in the game. This years offense seems to be less turnover prone than the last.
2nd and 6 11 trips vs. 4-2 MLB blitz off the edge from the trips side weakside end drops in coverage, cover three, blitz picked up, tunnel screen to Cain, defenders on him instantly and tackled after a short gain. Louisville's weakside end was able to corral Cain enough for pursuit to arrive, still a solid gain.
3rd and 2 11 trips vs. 4-2 Fake toss power read, counter away from trips side, blitzing MLB picked up, Bryant follows lead blockers for a gain of four. The Cardinals didn't particularly fall for the play fake, and Clemson will need to actually toss the ball outside more to run so many counters off it, but the Tigers are still able to get a hat on a hat for an easy first down.
1st and 10 11 trips. vs. 4-2 Play action, pulling guard (Hearn) and tight end (Greenlee) handle the end as Bryant steps up in the pocket and finds McCloud sprinting wide open to the end zone The corner looked at a route to the flats and just didn't have the foot speed to recover. McCloud is already about halfway to his 2016 yardage and touchdown total and looks significantly more explosive in an expanded role.

TOUCHDOWN, Clemson 16, Louisville 7

Louisville Ball, Louisville 25, 4:06

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 12 trips vs. 4-3 under Inside zone read with both tight ends leading backside, Malik Williams is able to take advantage of the attention two lead blockers and Jackson demand and gets a nice gain on the cutback run. Louisville needs to get Malik Williams the ball more. There aren't a lot of people with the vision to see D'oD overpursued to the backside and the agility/acceleration to capitalize on it.

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 11 vs. 4-2 Play action inside zone read, quarters coverage deep, pressure by Lawrence forces Jackson to step up and throw to a double covered receiver. Carter and Mullen were both in position to break the play up had the ball not hit grass.
2nd and 10 10 trips vs. 4-2 Joseph blitz, cover three fire zone, Samuel is able to come open in the middle of the field before Van Smith can rotate down but the receiver dropped the ball. It's hard to run a fire zone to trips because the slot is well positioned to get open. Lamar Jackson is generally making the right reads and getting no help. Venables is sending a lot of conservative zone blitzes (it's only a five man rush and you can still see Austin Bryant peel off with the running back) on second and third and long.

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
3rd and 10 11 vs. DOD Both linebackers and a box safety blitz, Bryant drops back, pass to the sideline broken up by Mullen The freshmen in the secondary played out of their collective minds Saturday. Venables takes advantage of Ferrell and Bryant's athleticism by leaning on them a lot in pass coverage.

Punt

Clemson Ball, Clemson 20, 3:17

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 11 trips unbalanced (Two WR's on LOS, TE in backfield) vs. 4-3 under QB power weakside, lead blocks by Richards, Choice and Falcinelli, Bryant is able to run for a first down and it's coming back because of a flag Clemson loves to run QB power away from the strength if the defense over adjusts. If the defense doesn't shift to the strong side Bryant can throw a bubble screen.
1st and 16 10 vs. 4-2 Dropback, tunnel screen to Cain, met behind the line of scrimmage but spins out of it and gains a few yards Louisville's secondary was giving up a lot of cushion and the play should have worked but the Cardinals MLB did a great job recognizing the play and meeting Cain behind the line.
2nd and 13 11 trips vs. 4-2 Sprint draw, well blocked, especially by Anchrum, except for Falcinelli missing the playside linebacker. Tackle after a short gain Is Clemson being a little conservative here? Yes, but the draw and screen both had a chance to put Clemson back into third and manageable.
3rd and 10 11 trips vs. 4-2 Play action, Bryant rolling outside with a lead blocker, Louisville playing quarters, McCloud comes open at the numbers by the first down marker Renfrow and McCloud ran switch routes and McCloud's defender got lost in the wash.
1st and 10 11 vs. 4-2 Louisville defender drawn offsides immediately
1st and 5 11 vs. 4-3 Play action, inside curl route, outside fades, Cain comes open on the sideline but just can't corral it in. Clemson's receivers are shredding this zone and the Cardinal's don't have the team speed to play man. When Louisville shows one high ScElliot can pretty comfortably call concepts designed to attack cover three.
2nd and 5 10 vs. 4-2 Inside zone read, good second level blocking, handoff to Feaster who bursts through the hole for a gain of sixteen yards. Falcinelli and Hearn opened just enough of a hole and Feaster is a much more developed between the tackles runner than he was last year.
1st and 10 10 vs. 4-2 All comebacks, Cain open at the sideline, easy throw and catch and Cain is ran out of bounds after the first down. Louisville's deep zone defenders are bailing out any time a Tiger receiver runs a route with a vertical stem and it's leaving the Cardinals exposed to curl and comeback routes to the outside receivers. Bryant could just as easily have gone to McCloud.

Field Goal Good, Clemson 19, Louisville 7

Louisville Ball, Louisville 20, 0:23

Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
Down & Distance Formation Play Anaylsis
1st and 10 10 trips vs. 4-2 Bubble screen to the sideline and the Cardinal's receiver is able to break a couple of tackles before getting the first down. Louisville had him open by alignment and the receiver was able to make a couple guys miss in the open field. Still, with this little time left, the Cardinals probably have to push the ball downfield to score.
1st and 10 10 trips vs. 4-2 Safeties rotate to the trips side, three man rush, Ferrell drops back to the single receiver side, curl route complete, tackled by Carter almost immediately By dropping Ferrell away from the side of the field the safeties rotate to Venables is able to have a second defender in the area should Jackson look to attack what looks like a one on one matchup.
1st and 10 10 trips vs. 4-2 Delayed rush by J.D. Davis, pressure in the backfield almost immediately from the defensive line, Jackson is sacked and the half comes to an end. Clemson may have been scored on here had they not been able to dominate possession and give Louisville so little time with the ball for a final drive.