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College football matchups, Week 3: Lamar Jackson must be better vs. Clemson

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Lamar Jackson
is the best player in the country.

He could be better.

When
Louisville Cardinals
hosts
Clemson Tigers
Saturday in a game that is getting bigger by the minute, watch what the
Arizona Cardinals
quarterback doesn’t do: throw it way, take a sack. At least not often enough. 

In winning the Heisman Trophy, Jackson committed 14 turnovers last season, an average of more than one per game. There were eight teams that didn’t turn it over that much. A forgettable four-turnover day against
Kentucky Wildcats
may have cost the Cardinals a New Year’s Six berth.

So far this season, Jackson has lost one fumble (vs.
Purdue Boilermakers
), giving him 15 turnovers in the 15 games since the beginning of last season. That part of his game has to be cleaned up before Louisville takes the next step.

Sure, some of that — perhaps a lot of it — is on a questionable offensive line. But a lot of 18- to 22-year-old males think they can do anything. It’s a dude thing, enhanced by active glands and a coming-of-age testosterone cocktail.

L-Jax is no different. It’s why we love him. It’s also why he can be better. You won’t read a fancy breakdown from an NFL scout or advanced analytics here.

It’s called decision-making. There will be times against Clemson when Jackson will need to tuck it and fall, run out of bounds, throw it away. Do Not Force It against what might be the best defensive front in the game at the moment.

As amazing as Jackson was last year plying at Clemson, he might need to be better Saturday night. The stakes couldn’t be higher. Considering a wounded quarterback at
Florida State Seminoles
, the winner just might rule the ACC.

If Jackson can take care of the little things, Louisville will be in line to win the big thing. 

1. Defense travels well: We know this because, well, it usually does. That means Clemson packed efficiently for this trip carrying 11 sacks and 19 tackles for loss in the overhead. All but five of those TFLs came last week against
Auburn Tigers
. The opponent is being tackled behind the line once every 10.5 snaps. This will be a chess match for Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, an active, monstrous D against the game’s best player. This could be the game of the year.

2. This time, Texas-USC is for real: CBS Sports can confirm
Texas Longhorns
actually beat
Southern California Trojans
in the teams’ last meeting 11 years ago. That actually became a point of contention this week. In essence, one of the greatest games ever played in the 2006 BCS Championship Game was never played in the eyes of Big Brother in Indianapolis,
Indiana Hoosiers
. This one will count, at least for now. A Coliseum sellout crowd will watch two legendary programs with different outlooks. Texas is trying to get back to relevancy. USC is trying to get to the playoff.

The Trojans seemed to have showed us who they are last week with a dominating win over
Stanford…


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