No. 10 Clemson’s College Football Playoff hopes might be dead, but the Tigers already have clinched a spot in the ACC title game as they host Louisville on Saturday.
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Louisville Cardinals vs. Clemson Tigers
Saturday, November 12, 2022 – 03:30 PM EST at Memorial Stadium (Clemson, SC)
Last Time They Met
ESPN has this ACC matchup as No. 10 Clemson starts a season-ending three-game homestand before heading to the conference title game in Charlotte. The Tigers clinched a spot in that last week when Pittsburgh upset Syracuse.
Last season, Clemson won 30-24 at Louisville despite trailing 24-17 entering the fourth quarter. DJ Uiagalelei's 8-yard touchdown run with 4:12 left in the game was the go-ahead score. He finished 18-for-30 for 220 yards and 2 scores and had that rushing score despite missing some time in the second quarter due to injury.
Louisville quarterback Malik Cunningham ran for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 22 carries, but he went down with an ankle injury with less than 5 minutes left in the third quarter. Cunningham, who also threw for 174 yards on 12-of-20 passing, returned with 10 minutes left in the game.
On their final drive, Cunningham got the Cardinals down to Clemson 2 in the game's final minute, but they couldn’t punch it in.
Clemson leads the all-time series 7-0 and is 5-0 against the spread on the NCAAF picks in the past 5 meetings.
Cardinals Playing Their Best Ball
Louisville (6-3) got bowl eligible last Saturday with a 34-10 win over new FBS member James Madison, the Cards’ 4th straight victory. The winning streak is the longest for the Cardinals since they won 5 in a row during the 2016 season. They outscored the Dukes 24-0 in the second half.
Tiyon Evans rushed 10 times for 126 yards and Jawhar Jordan added 117 yards on 17 carries. They became the first Louisville running back duo to rush for more than 100 yards in the same game since September 2012. The Cardinals managed 244 rushing yards as a team against what was the nation's top-ranked rushing defense.
Clemson is among the nation’s Top 20 against the rush allowing 107.3 YPG.
Dual-threat QB Malik Cunningham was 14-for-20 for 223 yards and 3 scores but had zero yards rushing on 15 carries, so that was unusual. Cunningham tied Lamar Jackson’s school record for touchdowns responsible with 119. Cunningham owns 70 career passing touchdowns and 49 rushing scores. Tyler Hudson had 6 catches for 142 yards, along with his first touchdown in a Cardinal uniform.
Facing a Top Opponent
The Cardinals will face a Top-15 opponent for the 2nd time in 3 weeks after beating No. 10 Wake Forest 48-21 on October 29.
"Coach Dabo Swinney has done an unbelievable job down there at Clemson," Coach Scott Satterfield said. "It seems like they just continue to reload. They're coming off a tough loss last week against Notre Dame. We know we're going to a hostile environment this week down at Clemson."
"That's one of the better home field advantages and venues to play. It's going to be loud, crazy, all of those things. They have a 38-game home winning streak, we know that. It's obviously a tough place to go play and try to get a win. So we'll have to prepare for that, particularly on offense. We've got to be ready for that.”
Louisville is 4-1 ATS in its past five vs. teams with a winning record.
Clemson’s Playoff Hopes Dashed?
It appears that Clemson will miss the College Football Playoff for the second year in a row, as the Tigers were ranked No. 4 but were completely dominated last Saturday in a 35-14 loss at then-unranked Notre Dame. The Tigers didn’t score until about 10 minutes remained in the fourth quarter and had a blocked punt returned for a TD and an interception returned 96 yards for a score.
It was just the 3rd win over a Top-10 opponent for Notre Dame in its past 10 games since 2018. The loss ended a 14-game winning streak by the Tigers, the longest active streak among FBS teams. It was Clemson's 5th road loss since 2015.
"They just physically kicked our butt. Period. The end," Coach Dabo Swinney said. "They absolutely dominated us in every aspect of football and it starts with coaching, tackling, blocking, you name it. It is what it is."
To make the playoff, which would obviously require Clemson to win out and get a lot of help, the Tigers are +450 at the NCAAF odds with no at -650. “In college football, anything can happen,” Clemson defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin said. “We’ll see how it all shakes out in the end.”
Winning Streak on Home Soil
We could see a QB change on Saturday as DJ Uiagalelei had that terrible interception vs. the Irish and has been inconsistent much of the year. Uiagalelei was previously benched earlier in the season against Syracuse and Swinney has hinted that freshman Cade Klubnik might get a look again.
Clemson has won 38 straight home games, an ACC record. No member of the current roster has lost at home.
The Tigers are attempting to tie the 2005-11 Oklahoma Sooners (39) for the 9th-longest home winning streak in FBS history. The Tigers are 29-7 overall following a loss under Swinney, including season openers following a loss in the previous season finale.
Clemson has not lost back-to-back games in the same season since November 2011. It won’t be here, either. The Tigers are 7-2 ATS in their past 9 ACC games.
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