Kei'Trel Clark

Louisville's Kei'Trel Clark celebrates after an interception against Eastern Kentucky.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The University of Louisville football team has lost a third key player to a season-ending knee injury. All-ACC cornerback Kei'Trel Clark has a torn ACL and will undergo surgery, Louisville coach Scott Satterfield announced on Monday.

Clark suffered the injury during a tackle in the second half of Louisville's 28-13 loss at N.C. State on Saturday. He's the second key performer on defense the Cardinals have lost to a knee injury. Linebacker Monty Montgomery was lost for the season after tearing an ACL in Louisville's win over UCF on Sept. 17.

Wideout Braden Smith also suffered a season-ending knee injury in a victory at Florida State.

"Tre really was playing well in the game. They took a lot of shots at our corners, and I thought he played well," Satterfield said. "Then on a tackle he got rolled up. Looks like he'll have to have surgery and will be out, probably for the remainder of the season, which is a tough blow for us. He's obviously one of our better players on that side of the ball. Just like the other guys, Monte and Braden had the surgery, they're on the mend now and he'll be in the same boat. But it's a big loss."

Clark, a sophomore transfer from Liberty, ranks fifth in the nation in pass break-ups (9) and is tied for third nationally and first in the ACC in passes defended per game. He ranked fifth on the team in tackles (40). In 2020, he started 9 games and ranked 10th nationally and tied for first in the ACC with 10 pass break-ups.

"Obviously he's an All-ACC performer and we count on him a lot. We're playing some other guys as well, but he's played the most at corner and you feel good when he's out there. He makes plays, leads the ACC in passes defended and he's one of the top interception guys. We've not been great in our pass defense, and losing one of our better pass defenders certainly hurts. The other guys have to rise up and make plays, Chandler Jones and Greedy Vance and Trey Franklin have to step in and fill that void."

Franklin, a sophomore from Robins, Ga., who transferred from Iowa Western Community College has intercepted two passes this season in largely a nickel-back role. That will expand with Clark's injury.

"He'll be one to step up to be an every-down guy as we rotate some of those guys in the secondary," Satterfield said. "Trey was a big part of our third-down package when we put in extra DBs, now he'll have to be part of that, but also part of the rotation at corner. He's played and practiced well the past two weeks, and he'll look forward to that opportunity. He's a good player."

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