Instant halftime analysis: Watson out, but defense stingy as Tigers lead


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Grady Jarrett celebrates the defensive touchdown
Grady Jarrett celebrates the defensive touchdown

CLEMSON – A hand injury has sidelined starting quarterback Deshaun WatsonDeshaun Watson
Fr. Quarterback
#4 6-3, 204
Gainesville, GA

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, and Clemson’s offense has stalled but the Tigers lead Louisville 14-10 at intermission Saturday afternoon in Death Valley.

Late in the first quarter, Watson ran to the sideline and appeared to come down on his hand. After one more play, Watson ran to the sideline and was immediately taken to the locker room. It was soon announced he had a right hand injury and was out for the game.

The Tigers did manage a short drive at the end of the half, but Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
Sr. Quarterback
#18 6-4, 231
Dublin, OH

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missed a wide-open Mike WilliamsMike Williams
So. Wide Receiver
#7 6-5, 208
Vance, SC

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in the back of the end zone and took the sack and the Tigers couldn’t get the clock stopped in time for a field goal.

Player of the half:Clemson’s defense. The Tigers have scored a touchdown on defense and the 10 points given up to the Cardinals have more to do with being backed up and field position than anything the defense was doing.

Stat of the half: Clemson has just four first downs – three which came on that final drive of the half and the Tigers have just 70 total yards. Louisville has 95 total yards. The teams are a combined 0-for-16 on third down.

What’s working for the Tigers:Special teams early on – the Tigers forced a 3-and-out on Louisville’s first drive, and after a 45-yard punt Adam HumphriesAdam Humphries
Sr. Wide Receiver
#13 5-11, 193
Spartanburg, SC

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broke a couple of tackles and took it 72 yards for the touchdown. It was Clemson’s first punt return for a touchdown since 2009, when C.J. SpillerC.J. Spiller
Pro Running Back
#28 5-11, 195
Lake Butler, FL

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took it to the house at Boston College.

What’s not working for the Tigers:The offensive line was getting worked over by the Louisville defensive line in both quarters. It seemed like they were getting blown backwards on every play. On one play inside of the Clemson ten, Watson escaped pressure but instead of running (looked like there was open space) he tried to float a pass to the sideline. It was intercepted, giving the Cardinals the ball at the Clemson 25. They turned it into a field goal.

The run game is in shambles – the Tigers have 24 rushing yards on 13 attempts.

What the Tigers need to do to win:Find a way to get quarterback Cole Stoudt and offense moving. The defense is playing well enough to win, but the Louisville defense is dialing up blitzes on third down and the Tigers can’t stop it. The offense also needs to find a way – even if they don’t score – to flip the field and get better field position. May sound too simple, but it’s easier to go 45 yards for a score than it is 90.


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