Clemson vs. Louisville is shaping up to be a major ACC battle on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers desperately need to pick up a win this weekend in order to keep their slim College Football Playoff hopes alive. Louisville, meanwhile, has won 4 straight games and is continuing to make progress under coach Scott Satterfield.

Here’s a preview of Clemson-Louisville:

Clemson vs. Louisville preview

Clemson is coming off of its worst game of the year — a 35-14 defeat to Notre Dame in South Bend. The Tigers struggled on both sides of the ball, but especially on offense.

DJ Uiagalelei was temporarily sidelined in the fourth quarter due to poor play, but true freshman Cade Klubnik threw an interception on his first pass of the game. Uiagalelei returned and led Clemson to a pair of too-little, too-late touchdown drives.

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For the first time this season, coach Dabo Swinney acknowledged the possibility this week that Clemson may have to go in a different direction at quarterback if Uiagalelei doesn’t turn things around. In his last two games, Uiagalelei is 40-of-60 for just 329 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions.

Things won’t get any easier for the Clemson offense this week as it faces Louisville. The Cardinals have specialized in creating havoc this season. They lead the ACC with 34 sacks and are tied for second in tackles for loss with 67.

Offensively, Louisville has been solid this season. The Cardinals rank fourth in the ACC with 6.15 yards per play. That’s despite some injury struggles from Malik Cunningham in recent weeks.

Cunningham may still not be 100% healthy, but he did play well vs. James Madison last week. He threw 3 touchdown passes in the victory. Cunningham hasn’t topped 50 rushing yards in a game since Oct. 1. If he isn’t able to access that part of his game, it’s a big advantage for Clemson going into this weekend.

Clemson’s defense still ranks near the top of the ACC in most major defensive categories. The Tigers rank fourth in the ACC in yards per play allowed so far this season.

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Clemson and Louisville have been playing on annual basis since 2014. The Tigers are a perfect 7-0 against Louisville, although some games have been close. Clemson has won 4 of those matchups, including its 2021 road victory, but just a single score.

Clemson vs. Louisville prediction

Clemson’s back is up against the wall, and the Tigers are at home. Malik Cunningham doesn’t seem to be 100% healthy. It might not be easy, but Clemson’s defense should be enough to get the Tigers the win in Death Valley. The intriguing thing will be if it’s Uiagalelei or Klubnik leading the charge on the offensive end.

Prediction: Clemson 28, Louisville 24