Louisville faces Clemson in Death Valley where the game will broadcasted on ESPN at 3:30 PM today. Sportsbooks currently have the Tigers favored by seven. Clemson looks to bounce back against Louisville after being upset by Notre Dame last weekend 35-14. The Cardinals have their own motivation as well to continue their winning streak. Let’s take a dive into the pulse of the fan base.
The fan base seems to be split. Some fans are hopeful against Clemson amidst Louisville’s active four game winning streak and others still want to see more before believing the team can upset a team like Clemson. Both sides have reason, so let’s look at why some have hope first.
The front seven for Louisville has been incredible in the second part of the season. The Cardinals continue to climb the DFEI ratings and rank 10th overall this week. Football outsiders DFEI metric shows the scoring advantage a team’s defense would have on a neutral field against an average opponent. Currently, Louisville sits ahead of notable programs such as Wisconsin and Notre Dame.
Louisville will need to slow down Clemson’s run game and force DJ Uiagalelei to be a factor for the offense. The Cardinals currently rank 8th in the nation in the defensive stuff rate, which lends to confidence for some fans. The stuff rate is a Football Outsiders statistic that shows the percentage of carries by running backs that are stopped at the line of scrimmage or behind it.
On the other land, the Tigers will need to stop the pass rush the Cardinals bring towards their quarterback. Clemson currently ranks 75th in sack rate, which is the rating for percentage of their offensive pass plays that result in a sack. Defensively, Louisville’s sack rate ranks 5th in the nation, so Clemson may be more vulnerable to Louisville’s defense than fans would believe.
DFEI metric trends prove that Clemson’s defensive trends are more favorable than Louisville’s offensive trends, which is causing concern for the Louisville fanbase. Clemson currently ranks 17th in defensive DFEI while Louisville ranks 51st in offensive DFEI. Concerns with the offense are valid due to the Cardinals woes with scoring in the red zone.
Louisville currently ranks 77th in red zone percentage. Based on this statistic, Louisville will need to be more efficient in the red zone to upset Clemson today.
Historically, Louisville fans don’t have much to bank confidence on with this matchup. Louisville suffered a heartbreaking loss in 2021 due to failing to convert in the red zone, falling 30-24.
Louisville then lost to a Trevor Lawrence-led team 45-10 in 2019. Previous matchups can continue to back Clemson’s dominance in the series, the point has been made. Typically, Cardinal fans can look to the past to give themselves confidence going into a highly-touted game, but that is not the case for this particular matchup in Death Valley.
Regardless of where the fan stands on the matchup today, this will be a close game. The defense led by Bryan Brown is legitimate and will test Uiagelelei today. The prediction today will be a low total with Clemson winning 24-20. Both offenses should rely on the run, which will keep the clock from stopping and the idea that the game will be low scoring. Coach Satterfield will need to show that he can flip the script in the red zone in Death Valley to get a historic win for the program after becoming bowl eligible last week.