Louisville football took their first loss at the hands of the Clemson Tigers on Saturday night. Here are the top five overreactions following the loss in Clemson.
Well, it finally happened everybody. The Louisville football team and Lamar Jackson took their first loss thanks to the Clemson Tigers on Saturday night. It wasn’t pretty, but I think we can all appreciate their effort and fight in the second half.
Article continues below ...
The Cardinals got off to a pretty rough start after having a 7-0 lead on the Tigers. Pre-snap penalties and turnovers gave Deshaun Watson everything he needed in order to put up 28 points in the second quarter.
It didn’t help that the referees missed some clear pass interference calls, but the Cards lost their cool a few times and that cost them. In a tough environment, one the road, and against Clemson, Louisville couldn’t overcome their early mistakes.
You do have to give the Cardinals credit for how they came out in the second half. That showed me a lot about their character and fight. That was the worst first half that we have seen from Louisville in a while and they came out ready to fight back. Kudos to the coaching staff for getting their guys juiced back up.
At the end of the day, Clemson was just a little better than the Cards.
Oct 1, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) is brought down by Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell (99) and defensive tackle Scott Pagano (56) during the first quarter at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
5. Lamar Jackson has been “figured out”
There is no doubt about it that Lamar Jackson did not have his best game of the season against Clemson. There were a lot of factors that went into that performance, but it wasn’t all Jackson’s fault. The Tigers did a great job of bringing consistent pressure on Jackson all evening long.
I wouldn’t say that this game was as much about Lamar Jackson as it was about the offensive line. We have talked all offseason and this year about how well the Cardinals’ O-line needs to play in order for this team to be successful.
The guys upfront simply did not handle the pressure of the crowd noise and the pressure of blitz packages by the defense.
Again, Lamar Jackson is going to be fine. Louisville’s schedule gets much easier as the season goes along and Jackson will continue to add to his crazy 2016 statistics.
Oct 1, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers running back Wayne Gallman (9) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Louisville Cardinals at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
4. The Cardinals were not ready for “the moment”
Yes, I will agree with you that this was not the best performance by the entire football team. We actually wrote, before the game, about how we felt as though Louisville was a better all-around team than Clemson at this point in the year. While I still believe that, Clemson absolutely handed it to the Cardinals on Saturday night.
I don’t think it was so much that Louisville wasn’t ready for the moment as much as it was that the Cardinals couldn’t stop the bleeding. This is a very experienced and talented team, but it was turnovers and penalties that plagued the Cards.
Clemson took advantage of Louisville’s turnovers and the Cardinals simply couldn’t do anything with Clemson’s. I believe that Cards are meant to play in these kinds of games, but it was just that this one got away from them.
When you play a great team on the road, mistakes have to be kept to a minimum. However, the second half showed that Louisville is still for real and a team that could be there in the end.
Oct 1, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers wide receiver Deon Cain (8) reacts after a touchdown during the second quarter against the Louisville Cardinals at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
3. Clemson just won the ACC Championship
Saturday night did not turn out the way that everyone around the Louisville football program would have hoped. However, it doesn’t mean that the Cardinals’ ACC Championship hopes are over, it just means that it’s going to be an uphill battle from here on out.
Louisville’s ACC schedule gets much, much easier and both teams still have to go through a few more months of ACC football. Don’t count the Cardinals out just yet.
Clemson still has to face: Boston College, NC State, Florida State, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, and South Carolina.
The Cardinals will need the Tigers to lose two more ACC games if they want to make their first appearance in the ACC Championship game this year. Florida State could be their first, but the Cards will need someone else to pull off an upset.
Again, it’s not going to be easy, but Clemson hasn’t clinched the ACC Atlantic Division just yet. Don’t lose hope Cards fans!
Oct 1, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) looks to pass the ball during the first quarter against the Louisville Cardinals at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
2. Lamar Jackson just lost the Heisman Trophy to Deshaun Watson
If you watched this one game alone, someone might say that Watson had jumped over Jackson in the Heisman Trophy race. I would say that is definitely not true whatsoever. Lamar Jackson showed the whole world why he should win the Heisman because of their comeback performance.
Yes, it is very important that Louisville has a great season in order for Jackson to be seriously considered for the Heisman. However, a one-loss Cardinals team could take Jackson all the way to the highly-coveted award if he still is producing big-time numbers.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity. The winners of the trophy epitomize great ability combined with diligence, perseverance, and hard work. The Heisman Trophy Trust’s mission is to ensure the continuation and integrity of this award.
This is still a long season and Jackson is in the front of the pack. He needs to keep firing on all cylinders to stay ahead of the competition.
Oct 1, 2016; Clemson, SC, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver James Quick (17) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Clemson Tigers at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
1. Louisville’s College Football Playoff hopes are over
Yes, this loss to Clemson was a crushing blow to Louisville’s playoff hopes, but I wouldn’t say that it’s out of the realm of possibility.
One of the biggest reasons that Louisville could be considered for a playoff spot is if they finish the 2016 season with a 11-1 record. That would mean that they would have beaten a sure top-five team in Houston. That would notch their second top-five win of the year and knock Houston out of the College Football Playoff race.
The Big-12 has been terrible this year and it would be silly to put their conference champion in the playoff. The PAC-12 is surely going to get a spot with Washington or Stanford, but the Big Ten might be the Cards biggest hurdle towards getting the fourth playoff spot.
Ohio State and Michigan will both, more than likely, be hanging around the top-five all season long. The winner of that game will be going to the playoff and the loser could be sticking around the top teams anyway.