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Louisville Cardinals at Clemson Tigers Betting Preview

The Clemson Tigers got caught looking ahead a bit last week, and as a result, their College Football Playoff hopes to a massive hit. The Tigers controlled their own destiny with three straight home games to close out the season, but they tripped up in a 35-14 loss to Notre Dame last weekend in South Bend.

Clemson (8-1) dropped from #4 to #10 in the CFP rankings, but now the Louisville Cardinals (6-3) want to close the door on their ACC rivals’ championship hopes altogether with a win on Saturday.

Louisville became bowl eligible with a 34-10 win over James Madison last week, their fourth straight victory. Oddsmakers have Clemson just a TD favorite at home in week 11.

Time for the Cardinals to Run the Ball

Notre Dame provided the formula last week for how to beat Clemson – run the ball mercilessly. The Fighting Irish had 47 rushing attempts for 263 yards and picked up a three-TD win while completing just nine passes for 85 yards.

Louisville has the horses to at least somewhat emulate what Notre Dame did on the ground; the Cardinals are one of three ACC teams that run for over 200+ yards/game, and their 202.2 ypg on the ground is 24th in the country.

Dual-threat QB Malik Cunningham does a lot of that damage in the running game leading the team with 541 yards and 11 TDs. Jawhar Jordan had his first 100+ game of the season last week, though (granted against James Madison – although they were ranked this season), and Tiyon Evans has run for 100+ in two straight.

Both Logan Diggs (114) and Audric Estime (104) went for 100+ for Notre Dame last week against Clemson, and neither had more than 18 carries. The Tigers still do have the #2 run defense in the ACC, however (107.7).

Clemson With Some QB Issues

Clemson is 4-0 at home, but that may be the last place QB D.J. Uiagalelei wants to be playing this week. Uiagelelei wasn’t bad last week (27/39, 191 yards, 1/1), but he also wasn’t good.

What Tigers fans mostly are is frustrated with their QB as he can have back-to-back three TD games on the road and toss five earlier this season vs. Wake Forest but be held to under 200 yards with one TD / three INTs the last two games.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has hinted at going to backup Cade Klubnik if the offense doesn’t show improvement this week.

Louisville at Clemson Pick and Prediction

The Tigers have Miami and South Carolina both at home to finish the season, so it looks like Louisville and then possibly North Carolina in the ACC championship game is their final hurdles to 12-1 and to see if that will be enough to impress the CFP committee.

Louisville wants to be the biggest hurdle possible, and they can be behind Cunningham and some late-season developing depth at the RB position. Uiagelelei’s job is on the line, and in situations like that, you start to press and play tight, as we’ve seen the last two games. This looks like a FG margin game.

Pick: Louisville +7

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