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Clemson Extends Lead in 3rd Quarter Against Louisville

NCAA Football: Clemson at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Coming out of halftime the only question seemed to be if we’d get the 2016 version of Clemson or a new version. The 2016 version may have let Louisville back into this one. For all of the talent on the 2016 team the Tigers did occasionally struggle to put teams away. That didn’t happen in this game and the 3rd quarter is why. This one had a bit of everything. Defense, offense, and plenty of touchdowns for Clemson

Clemson gets the ball to start the half and comes out ready to move the ball. They get into Louisville territory for a FG but 2 poor blocks kill the drive. Crowder couldn’t block on the screen as he pulled and then Feaster whiffed on chipping a blitzer to knock Clemson out of FG range

Clemson Ball, Clemson 25, 15:00

Down and Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down and Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st and 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Fuller carries for 4 yards. The right side of the OL did well to drive back the UL defenders with Falcinelli pulling quickly for a nice block. A nice use of motion to hold the Louisville defense. With Clemson's speed they have to respect the sweep
2nd and 5 Empty shotgun vs 4-3 Bryant hits Overton for a 15 yard completion of a quick curl route Overton does well here to spin away from the oncoming CB. Really this should have been a 3-4 yard completion but the CB was too agressive and it cost him.
1st and 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Fuller catches a pass from Fuller out in the flat and gets a 1st down This was a great throw by Bryant. He's struggled on screen and passes to the flat, but here he put the perfect touch on it and waited for the defender to move into the right position.
1st and 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Feaster runs for 11 yards up the middle. The OL got enough push and he capitalized This play is what makes Feaster special. These aren't big holes the OL has made, but Feaster is able to shimmy into each one and get a first down.
1st and 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Kelly Bryant scrambles for 1 yard after he kept the option play. The OL really missed on this one. Bryant made the right read, but there were 4 Louisville defenders in the backfield by the time he was handing it off. Can't expect a play to be successful when that happens
2nd and 9 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Bryant hits Hunter Renfrow for 3 yards on the screen to the right. Absolutely terrible "block" by Crowder out there. If he even engages his man Renfrow probably gets a first down, or makes it 3rd and short.
3rd and 6 11 shotgun vs nickel Bryant sacked for a loss of 9 on a rush from the right side. Shocking Feaster tried to chip a blitzer from the right and he failed. If he even slows the guy up Bryant could at least get free here. These are the types of plays Feaster needs to get better to give Clemson a chance.

Lamar Jackson takes the field and this is more of the same. Then Jackson looks like Heisman Lamar Jackson only for a penalty behind the play to bring back is 50 yard plus scramble. Then O’Daniel made one of the best plays I’ve seen out of a Clemson LB in years with a pick six. He played the mental and physical part of the position perfectly here. You could just see Louisville deflate after this.

Louisville Ball, Louisville 20, 11:19

Down and Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down and Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st and 10 12 pistol vs 4-3 Lamar Jackson loses a yard of on the option. Jackson read it right, the RB would have gotten killed, but Clemson sets the edge well.
2nd and 11 11 pistol vs 4-3 Malik Williams catches the swing pass and goes for 6 Clemson was very susceptible to the swing pass/wheel route in this one. It was a little surprising Louisville didn't force the issue to try and open up the middle of the defense a little bit.
3rd and 5 11 pistol vs 4-3 Jackson hits Smith for the first down in a rare hole in Clemson's defense Just a little soft coverage about 6 yards into the Clemson defense and Jackson was accurate for once. This could have been a bit worse if Smith had floated outside a bit more, both defenders weren't really tracking him.
1st and 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Jackso Keeps the ball and gallops into the redzone but it is called back for an illegal block by Louisville This play, before the penalty, is a bueatiful example of the zone read. Jabril Robinson got pulled out of position to chase the RB and Jackson just sprinted through the hole. The best part is the penalty was after Jackson was down the field, so pointless.
1st and 25 12 shotgun vs 4-3 Dawkins catches a pass for 12 yards on the pass outside Again the throw to the flat hurts Clemson. The UL WR blocks well and luckily Clemson's speed bails them out
2nd and 13 12 pistol vs 4-3 Lamar Jackson completes a pass to Dorian O'Daniel for the PICK SIX This was a beautiful play by O'Daniel. His body indicated that he was going to move into the flat tocover the UL RB who wandered out there. But instead O'Daniel held and made a really athletic catch.

Louisville gets the ball back and can’t do anything. There is room on the edge via screens and swing passes, but Louisville isn’t interested in taking advantage of this

Louisville Ball, Louisville 25, 8:53

Down and Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down and Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st and 10 11 pistol vs 4-3 Jackson throws incomplete to Smith when he forced it between 2 Clemson players Jackson stared down Smith and Kendall Joseph almost made another interception here. It would have been difficult, but it was there.
2nd and 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Bonnafon runs for 7 yards Clemson handled the dive by Jackson, but they weren't far enough out on the edge to stop Bonnafon quickly
3rd and 3 11 pistol vs 4-3 Jackson stopped for no gain as he danced around the pocket while trying to scramble This one is on Clemson's DBs. No one was open and Jackson finally decided to scramble, but because he wasn't decisive he got sacked.

Clemson takes the ball and decides to go on a time killing 5 minute drive. Bryant makes several good decisions here and the coaching staff decides to feed the run game. This is one of those drives you see and just know it means your team will win. And Bryant gets a well deserved TD at the end.

Clemson Ball, Clemson 34, 7:18

Down and Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down and Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st and 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Feaster runs for 4 yards after getting hit at the LOS Feaster shows some toughness here, there was nothing but he bounced off of contact and found some yards
2nd and 6 11 shotgun vs nickel Feaster runs for 7 yards after the OL created a hole on the cut. This is a classic run where you just make one cut and go. The OL forced most defenders left and Feaster cut right for the hole.
1st and 10 11 shotgun vs nickel Bryant sacked by James Hearns on the speed rush Hearns just absolutely abused Taylor Hearn at LT on that one and Bryant couldn't get away in time
2nd and 16 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Bryant runs for 3 yards on an option out to the right. A bit of a conservative call here and the line did ok, but they look a bit slow moving outside.
3rd and 13 10 shotgun vs nickel Renfrow catches a pass for 16 yards over the middle. The OL gives Bryant an excellent pocket and Renfrow just sits between 3 Lousville defenders. Bryant was able to step into the throw to deliver it perfectly.
1st and 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Feaster carries for 26 yards basically right up the middle. Feaster is displaying some excellent strength. He isn't going to be arm tackled and when the OL parts the defenders he's going to get a big gain.
1st and 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Feaster runs for 9 yards up the A gap once gain. For all we heard about Louisville's run defense, they aren't doing well to defend the interior run here. Once again Feaster has an easy gain.
2nd and 1 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Fuller runs for 6 yards up the middle again after putting a WR in motion. The motion froze Louisville again and though there wasn't a huge hole here Fuller had no problem trying to knock over some defenders.
1st and Goal 11 shotgun vs 4-4 Fuller runs for no gain Clemson was outnumbered here with only 6 guys on the line. Honestly a questionable play call here especially with everyone up against the line for Louisville
2nd and Goal 12 shotgun vs 4-4 Fuller runs for no gain This time Clemson brings in the 2 TE set but the Louisville defense just forces the Clemson OL back and gets to Fuller.
3rd and Goal 11 shotgun vs 4-4 Bryant runs for a 1 yard TOUCHDOWN Finally Clemson gets creative here. Motion in one direction then Bryant fakes the pitch to his left. Louisville played the pitch well, but the right side of the OL pulled to the left and sealed Louisville so Bryant could walk into the end zone.

To credit Louisville they did decide to finally play football. Unfortunately it was a bit late. The Cardinals finally get another TD on a drive spanning the 3rd and 4th quarters.

Louisville Ball, Louisville 25, 2:16

Down and Distance Formation Play Analysis
Down and Distance Formation Play Analysis
1st and 10 11 pistol vs 4-3 Lamar Jackson runs 15 yards on the scramble when coverage was too good. Clemson did well to bottle up the UL receivers, but a missed tackle by Clemson at the line let Jackson scamper. It was a pretty weak effort by I think Mullen.
1st and 10 11 shotgun vs 4-3 Jackson scrambles for 1 yard Clemson brings some pressure from the right by Robinson but Jackson is able to get outside where he's forced out of bounds
2nd and 9 12 shotgun vs 4-3 Bonnafon rushes for 5 yards Louisville does a good job pulling to the right side and the lead blocker seals of Clemson's DL for Bonnafon
3rd and 4 12 pistol vs 4-3 Bonnafon runs the ball for 3 yards Louisville's C gets a nice push to open the A gaps for Bonnafon and he's able to get a few yards there.
4th and 1 22 offset I vs 5-3 Jackson completes a pass to Smith for 5 yards A little trickery here. Louisville shows run but then puts a WR in motion. Clemson loses the receiver and he breaks out into the flat wide open. Easy pitch and catch for Louisville.
1st and 10 21 Pistol vs 4-3 PA Roll left, MLB green dog after RB stays in for pass pro JD Davis does a good job slipping with the backside TE to the flats to make the tackle
2nd and 9 Camera looking at the sidelines, can't tell what pre-snap is Bucksweep left, Louisville caught Clemson and the camera crew napping a bit Ferrel got reached and sealed to allow a lane, but Mullen sets a hard edge and Chad Smith cleans it up from the inside
3rd and 1 21 pistol vs 4-3 Under Twins to the right with twin TE right, LJ runs the read option to the weak side vs base look cover 6 with Van Smith and Fields playing quarters vs the twins, Simmons taking deep half, and Mullen in the flats to the weakside Jackson should have handed off as Mullen sets a nice edge and forces him inside to Davis and Simmons but gets the 1st
1st and 10 21 Pistol vs 4-3 Tampa 2 coverage vs a cover 2 beater. Post/flat combo by the TEs to pull Simmons over and then a post by the slot Simmons goes with the deep TE which is the initial read on the play and Ferrell flushes Jackson but with the added time, the post gets to develop past Chad Smith in the Tampa 2 role and beats Van Smith to the inside for the easy TD