3 defensive keys for a Clemson win versus Louisville

No. 12 Clemson (8-1, 6-0 ACC) moves into Week 11 playing host to Louisville for the first of the Tiger’s three remaining matchups of the regular season at Memorial Stadium.

Clemson enters Saturday’s contest after sustaining its first loss of the season last weekend at Notre Dame. The Tiger’s are in the hunt for their ninth win of the season with hopes of keeping their playoff goals alive through the last three games.

Despite a 6-3 record, Louisville comes into Saturday’s matchup having won four straight including three ACC wins against Virginia, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest. The Cardinals boast one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC in Malik Cunningham who will be a big challenge for Wes Goodwin’s defense.

Here are three defensive keys to a Clemson win at home versus Louisville.

1. Contain the QB threat

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Louisville boasts arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC this season in veteran Malik Cunningham. The dual-threat quarterback brings a challenging offensive scheme to Death Valley this weekend and is vital to the Cardinal’s offensive success. If Clemson’s defense can keep Cunningham from being too mobile and prevent the QB from getting into a rhythm early, success will surely follow.

2. Stop the run game

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The Cardinals bring a very successful run game to the field this weekend. Wes Goodwin’s defense has struggled against the run game at times this season and will need to put together a dominant performance against a talented running back room as well as a very mobile quarterback in Cunningham, who leads his team in rushing yards this season.

3. Successful matchups

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An area where the Tigers have been burned the most defensively is in winning one-vs-one matchups. With a lot of youth in the backfield, Clemson has struggled to win big matchups downfield that have proven to be costly for the Tigers at points this season. With a balanced attack on both sides of the ball, Clemson’s defense will need to put up a dominant performance and win matchups both up front and in the backfield from the get-go to give Louisville’s offense a run for its money.

Clemson defensive difference makers vs. Louisville

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Difference Maker #1: Barrett Carter

Difference Maker #2: Myles Murphy

Difference Maker #3: K.J. Henry

Difference Maker #4: Andrew Mukuba

Clemson defenders to watch

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Keep an eye on:

  • Cornerback Nate Wiggins

  • Defensive tackle Bryan Bresee

Story originally appeared on Clemson Wire