LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Deshaun Watson threw two touchdown passes, Wayne Gallman ran for 139 yards and No. 11 Clemson held off Louisville 20-17 on Thursday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both schools.

Despite ragged stretches including two interceptions by Watson, Clemson (3-0, 1-0) followed up routs of Wofford and Appalachian State with a solid conference win. The sophomore was spot on when needed, finding Hunter Renfrow and Jordan Leggett wide open down the middle for TD passes of 32 and 25 yards, respectively.

Louisville (0-3, 0-1) started its third quarterback in three games with Kyle Bolin, and used freshman Lamar Jackson and sophomore Reggie Bonnafon behind center in a search for offensive consistency. The combination kept the Cardinals within reach of Clemson long enough to have a last shot at a win, but Bolin’s desperation pass was intercepted by Jadar Johnson in the final seconds.

The ending left Clemson players and fans relieved and happy with their second straight escape over Louisville, which has its first 0-3 start since 1984.

After exiting last year’s home victory over the Cardinals early with a broken hand, Watson completed 21 of 30 passes to eight targets for 199 yards. Gallman rushed 24 times for his season-high yardage and helped the Tigers outgain the Cardinals 401-272. Louisville was just 2 of 14 on third down a year after a 1-of-17 effort at Clemson.

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