Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson turned in one of the most impressive single-game performances in college football history on Friday night.
Jackson amassed 610 yards, accounted for five touchdowns, hurdled a defender for one score and pushed his name right into the mix for the Heisman Trophy in a 62-28 victory over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome.
With already 13 touchdowns in two games this season, Jackson completed 20 of 39 passes for 411 yards and one score and ran 21 times for 199 yards and four TDs. He was one yard rushing off of becoming the first player in college football history to pass for more than 400 yards and rush for more than 200 in a game.
“He’s a heck of a football player,” U of L coach Bobby Petrino said. “He prepared well all week and he told me he was going to have a good game. He was focused, he was prepared and he came out and executed.”
And Jackson wasn’t satisfied.
“I did good, I guess,” Jackson said with a smile. “I have a lot of room for improvement. I threw a lot of bad balls and made a couple of bad reads.”
Jackson set the school and ACC records for total offense in a game by a single player and now has 730 yards rushing in his last four games for the Cardinals.
In two games this season, Jackson has completed 37 of 62 passes for 697 yards and seven touchdowns, while rushing for 318 yards and six TDs.
He was named Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week last week and put up more incredible numbers this time around.
“I feel like I can score on any play,” Jackson said. “When we don’t score we all get mad at ourselves. We know we can’t let that happen. We have to keep scoring.”
Jackson made it look easy. It was his seven 100-yard rushing game for his career and the fourth time he has surpassed 150 yards on the ground.
“We go after it in practice not to get tired,” Jackson said. “It’s for games like this that we go hard and we just have to keep grinding.”
Jackson’s most memorable play was the hurdle.
With just under four minutes left in the first half, Jackson already had three TDs rushing and came to his left in search of a fourth. He had Jamari Staples on the outside blocking for him but a Syracuse defender came right to Jackson.
The QB looking the defender up and down and decided to go over him, leaping in the air without being touched and bounding down and into the end zone.
“I had nothing else to do,” Jackson said. “I figured I had to take a shot and try to get into the end zone and score.
“Everybody went crazy (on the sidelines). People weren’t expecting a quarterback to do that but I didn’t have anything else to do.”
But even with the ridiculous numbers and highlight-reel plays, Petrino said the offense has “a long ways to go,” and Jackson agreed.
“A ‘C’,” Jackson said when asked to grade the performance of the Cardinals’ offense. “We had too many mistakes. We can’t do that and we did, the offense is supposed to be perfect and we were not perfect.
“But we still have a long way to go this season.”