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Gary B. Graves | The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Lamar Jackson is piling up yardage and points again, helping Louisville get off to an unbeaten start while sparking discussion of possibly winning the Heisman Trophy — again.

The No. 14 Cardinals have needed the junior quarterback’s impressive totals of 1,010 yards and eight touchdowns to offset their defensive generosity.

Louisville (2-0, 1-0 ACC) has yielded 63 points and 745 yards through two games and trailed against both Purdue and North Carolina. While Jackson’s arm and feet seized control of both contests for the Cardinals, they can’t be so giving against defending national champion and third-ranked Clemson in Saturday night’s Atlantic Coast Conference showdown.

Clemson football: Tigers’ offense needs to ‘bring it’ vs. Louisville

“We just need to continue getting better technique-wise,” senior linebacker Trevon Young said. “Our coaches have a good game plan, we just have keep doing a better job of executing.”

Though both schools still have to face 11th-ranked Florida State, the winner can take early control of the Atlantic Division. Louisville coach Bobby Petrino believes his defense must become stingier to finally beat the Tigers after losing the three previous meetings by a total of 15 points.

“It’s going to be really important for us to stop the run,” Petrino said this week. “They’ve always done a good job of running the football.

“Then they’ve got three really good receivers that we know well coming back (and) are deep threats. … It’s a good challenge. We’re looking forward to it.”

Opponents have rushed for just 68 yards against Louisville but are averaging 338.5 yards per game through the air. Junior cornerback Jaire Alexander’s absence with a knee injury against Purdue hasn’t helped and is uncertain for Clemson, though Petrino said he’s progressing.

Ball protection and pass rushing will also be critical with both teams capable of taking advantage. Clemson overcame turnovers to rally past Louisville 42-36 last year, and coach Dabo Swinney doesn’t want to give Jackson easy chances with the stakes high again.

Clemson vs. Louisville: Score, highlights, live updates as Tigers face Lamar Jackson

“We’ve had some incredible battles with them and I don’t expect this one to be any different,” Swinney said, noting Louisville’s 614.5-yard offensive average.

Of Jackson, the coach added, “He’s fun to watch. He’s not fun to prepare for. He’s not fun to play.”

This article was written by Gary B. Graves from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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