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UVa and Virginia Tech beat writers predict this weekend's games

17 September 2017, 06:24 | Charlene Valdez


LSU football

It is the second-straight season GameDay has broadcast from the Clemson-Louisville game. It could have national ramifications. Jackson and the fourteenth ranked Cardinals have one of the most electric offenses in all college football, and the dual-threat quarterback is capable of picking up massive chunks of yardage on any play he touches the ball. The Cardinals are 2-0 on the season and now hold the No. 14 spot in the land. The color scheme popular with players was last worn on October 14 in an ACC win over Duke.

As great as Jackson was for most of last season, he has been even better through two games this season. I'd be thrilled if we could get an encore performance.

"This year we're still trying to figure out ourselves, figure out our identity", Hyatt said. "But as far as talking about the game and things like that, we haven't discussed that".

Jackson dented Clemson for 457 total yards and three touchdowns last season, though the Tigers survived, 42-36. Defensively, Louisville is allowing 31.5 points and 372.5 yards per game.

On the other hand, Louisville's Seth Dawkins has been solid returning kickoffs, and a big one in this game could be a big boost against what has been an outstanding Clemson defense.

It's unfair to put defending Heisman Trophy victor Lamar Jackson in an "or-else game" when No. 14 Louisville hosts No. 3 Clemson at Papa John's Stadium on Saturday, but here's how some voters will treat this game: "Jackson has to win this game or he can't win the Heisman".

Louisville is led by reigning Heisman victor Lamar Jackson, who has scored eight touchdowns through the first two games of the season. Watson won the game (and the national title) while Jackson eventually got the Heisman Trophy.

"They always have a great defense, real strong defensive front, fast linebackers and secondary and do a really good job of playing together and playing hard, so we've got a great challenge there", Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said.

The Tigers have limited opponents to just over 118 yards per contest, including just 40 through the air. "I know I can do a lot better". The Cards got past Purdue and North Carolina without showing much except that Jackson may be even better as a junior than he was as a sophomore. He spent the entire off-season studying film of quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady to figure out what they do well in the pocket to make themselves such accurate passers.

But Jackson is a different breed.

Louisville's offense will be flawless reply to the Tigers defense as it is averaging 614.5 yards per game and takes the fifth spot nationally in total offense. But he is so motivated going into this game, he will make one more play and pull out the win.

The five losses came against Houston (twice, home and away), LSU (2016 Citrus Bowl), Pittsburgh (away, 2015) and Clemson (home, 2015). "They have to make sure they have contain and stay in gaps". The Cardinals, behind the best player in college football, are the play as 3-point underdogs. That should give the Cardinals confidence heading into their first big battle of the campaign.

Clemson cornerback Ryan Carter said Jackson hurt the Tigers when he broke from the pocket and made plays on the run. "You watch him the other day and you're like, 'Wow, this guy is pretty good.' He's throwing it all over the place and he's running for touchdowns".

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