Watson vs. Jackson Duel in Death Valley

Connor Watson

October 1, 2016...

Future NFL stars Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson faced off at the collegiate level as Clemson faced Louisville in a high-scoring, nail-biting game that Clemson ended with the win by a final score of 42-36.

The score did not tell the whole story. With both teams being scoreless after the first quarter, the game looked like it would be a defensive battle.

Jackson and the Cardinals landed the first blow, scoring on an 82-yard drive and going up by seven. Watson, looking for a response, threw an interception while on the verge of scoring. Clemson’s defense came up huge with a forced fumble, that gave Watson the ball back and a chance at redemption. 

He connected on a 33-yard pass to Deon Cain for the touchdown, and Clemson’s first points of the game.

The next three possessions resulted in turnovers for both teams, but the chain of turnovers was ended with a Wayne Gallman 24-yard touchdown. 

The second quarter was dominated by the Tigers, with Cain's 37-yard touchdown. On the final drive of the half, Artavis Scott's 5-yard touchdown capped a 73-yard drive.

Louisville came out of halftime firing, scoring 26 unanswered points and taking a 36-28 lead over the Tigers who were held scoreless in the third quarter. 

Jackson opened the scoring with a short pass to James Quick. After the defense forced a  Clemson punt, the Cardinals drove to the 20-yard line before they settled for a field goal. Jackson then took matters into his own hands, as he ran all over the Clemson defense and eventually into the end-zone for their second touchdown of the quarter. 

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Watson and company took the lead back in the fourth quarter, as they scored two touchdowns in the last two possessions. The Tiger defense held the Cardinals to a punt and turnover on downs, with Marcus Edmond's game-clinching stop on a Cardinal wideout one yard shy on their final offensive play. 

Watson finished the game with 306 yards passing, 91 yards rushing, five touchdowns, three interceptions and a fumble. Jackson totaled 295 yards in the air, 162 yards rushing, one touchdown and one interception.

Cain led the game for receiving with 98 yards and two touchdowns. Gallman totaled 110 yards and a touchdown in the game as well. Both Jordan Leggett and Mike Williams ended the game with 70 yards receiving each and both caught a touchdown pass from Watson.

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On the defensive end, Clemson captain Ben Boulware totaled 18 tackles, including three tackles for a loss and a sack. Defensive end Clellin Ferrell had two sacks. Clemson defensive back Jadar Johnson had the only Clemson interception of the game, as well as seven tackles and a pass deflection.

This game will go down in history as one of the greatest victories in the Dabo Era of Clemson Football.

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