Are Watson’s interceptions a big deal?


While doing some research earlier Friday for a post on Louisville’s star defensive back Jaire Alexander, I stumbled into the fact that the Cardinals have intercepted Clemson’s Deshaun Watson more than any other team — and it’s not even all that close. I thought it’d be interesting to go through and list out which teams have given the hyper-accurate Watson the most fits, in terms of interceptions.

Here’s a quick breakdown of which teams Watson, who has just 23 career interceptions (886 career pass attempts), have picked off the signal-caller the most.

2014 — Freshman (8 games)

OpponentPlayerPass AttemptsResult
North CarolinaSam Smiley36Win
LouisvilleJames Sample6Win

2015 — Sophomore (15 games)

Appalachian StateLatrell Gibbs26Win
LouisvilleJames Burgess30Win
LouisvilleShaq Wiggins30Win
Notre DameCole Luke22Win
Georgia TechBrant Mitchell30Win
Boston CollegeSteven Daniels41Win
Boston CollegeJustin Simmons41Win
SyracuseJuwan Dowels47Win
Wake ForestBrad Watson35Win
Wake ForestHunter Williams35Win
UNCNaz Jones42Win
OklahomaZack Sanchez31Win
AlabamaEddie Jackson47Loss

2016 — Junior (7 games)

AuburnJoshua Holsey34Win
TroyCedarius Rookard53Win
TroyJalen Rountree53Win
Georgia TechLance Austin48Win
LouisvilleJaire Alexander31Win
LouisvilleJaire Alexander31Win
LouisvilleChuck Williams31Win
NC StateMike Stevens52Win

Over the last three seasons, Louisville has intercepted Watson more than almost every other opponent combined. The Cardinals account for nine of those 23 picks. Only five other teams, including four from the ACC, have intercepted the star QB more than one time: Georgia Tech, Boston College, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Troy.

Only one of Watson’s interceptions took place in a loss. That of course is last season’s defeat to Alabama in the national title game, when the ballhawking Eddie Jackson snagged Watson’s pass, which was intended for Ray-Ray McCloud.

Watson has thrown 17 of his career interceptions against ACC opponents; only four teams account for those turnovers, too. NC State and Syracuse have one interception each against Watson. The Wolfpack’s lone pick in three games the Heisman candidate occurred last Saturday, when Mike Stevens intercepted a ball, and took it back 28 yards for a score — the first pick-six of Watson’s storied career.