Clemson presents "huge challenge" for Cardinals


Louisville football faces its toughest test of the season against second-ranked Clemson at Cardinal Stadium Oct. 19. The Cardinals are coming off consecutive conference wins for the first time since 2017, but host a Tiger team that is as talented and deep as any program in the country.

Offensive coordinator Dwayne Ledford calls the game a huge challenge for the Cardinals. Clemson (6-0) has the nation’s third-ranked defense, allowing 254.8 yards and 12.3 points per game.

The Tigers have held opponents to 104.5 rushing yards while Louisville goes into the game with the third-ranked rushing attack in the conference at 227 yards per game.

Clemson’s defense may look different with the departures of defensive linemen Clelin Ferrell, Christian Wilkins, Austin Bryant and Albert Huggins, four players who were selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, but the Tigers still have plenty of talent.

The Tiger defense has 47 tackles for a loss along with 12 turnovers.

“They have done a tremendous job in recruiting,” Ledford said. “Those guys are playing at a very high level.”

Clemson’s defense moves into different looks pre-snap, so Ledford wants Louisville’s offensive line to keep its eyes active.

He hopes Louisville is able to match the speed of Clemson’s defense.

“We have to make sure we are fundamentally good, but we also have to make sure that we have to stay on top,” Ledford said. “We have to have rhythm. We can’t get behind the chains. We don’t want to get in third-and-long situations.”

Despite five of its wins coming by two touchdowns or more, Clemson looked vulnerable against North Carolina in a game the Tigers won 21-20. After a bye week, Clemson appeared to be back to normal in a 45-14 rout of Florida State, but Louisville will use some of what North Carolina did Sept. 28.

“North Carolina did a really good job against them,” Ledford said. “There were things they did that we took a long look at to see if we could fit it into what we are doing with it.”