Someone had to lose that game. I fully expected it to be Louisville for a myriad of reasons other than my colossal pessimism. After Louisville’s first possession ended 3 and out, and Clemson methodically returned the ensuing punt for a touchdown, I was even prepared for the loss to be Buzz’s girlfriend in Home Alone ugly.
I shouldn’t doubt this defense. While they have been impressive over the first half of the season, I didn’t expect them to contain an explosive Clemson offense to its worst output of the year. They kept Clemson out of the end zone for the entirety of the game. Even on Clemson’s final, clock-crunching drive when they were visibly gassed, they did not break. Todd Grantham’s unit doesn’t get the notoriety it deserves, mostly due to the vexed Bobby Petrino offense.
The defense was in such control of this game early on, there was a credentialed Clemson somebody spotted in the Louisville defensive huddle. Pardon my Lou Holtz, but what was that schon of bisch doing? He was quickly escorted out of the game.
Delving into this offense could lead to many regrettable tangents. Like how track star James Quick doesn’t score on that big reception with nothing but open field in front of him? As bad as the offense was, and have been, they actually showed some improvement against arguably the best defensive unit they’ve played this season. The output wasn’t great, hell, it wasn’t even good, but it’s not as doom and gloom as it currently seems.
Will Gardner needs to remain the starting QB. He returned to the lineup early in the third quarter, he was great in the pocket, and didn’t seem apprehensive when being rushed. For everything Reggie can give us, he’s still only played the position for a little over a year. I have no doubts in his ability, but he is still incredibly raw.
The offensive line didn’t get embarrassed by one of the better front seven’s in the country, though penalties remain a drawback. This issue should’ve been fixed weeks ago. If the gradual improvement in play continues, and penalties are reduced, it should bode well for more production.
In all likelihood, DeVante Parker will return to the lineup next week. You can’t underestimate the return of an all-american caliber player, especially at a position that has underwhelmed us tremendously.
With N.C. State on deck, Louisville should bounce back and then have two weeks to prepare for Florida State. It’s hard to swallow seeing this team play so miserably on offense and still knowing you’re two big plays from being 7-0. At least we’re not Michigan.