As if they weren't busy enough as is, it's time for the University of Louisville sports information and marketing teams to ramp up the Heisman Trophy campaign efforts for the Cardinals sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Prior to Louisville's absolute dismantling of Florida State at a soldout Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Saturday afternoon, the second-year quarterback had already grabbed the attention of the nation by accumulating 1,105 total yards - 697 passing and 318 rushing. He established a new school record with eight touchdowns in a week one blowout victory over Charlotte. Week two saw Jackson became the first player in major college football history to throw for 400+ yards and rush for at least 175 yards in a game to guide the Cardinals to a 62-28 victory at Syracuse.
The weekly accolades began pouring in immediately. Among the honors: ACC Offensive Back of the Week, Scout ACC Player of the Week, ESPN Helmet Sticker and the first player since 2010 to be chosen as the Walter Camp National Player of the Week in consecutive weeks. After two weeks, he topped ESPN's weekly Heisman Experts Poll, leading Stanford receiver Christian McCaffrey, Georgia running back Nick Chubb, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett and quarterback Greg Ward Jr., of Houston.
Then Florida State happened. Just minutes removed from ESPN's College GameDay program airing live from Louisville and discussing Jackson's Heisman possibilities, he removed any doubt of his abilities when facing the nation's best competition. Jackson threw for 216 yards and a touchdown, while also blistering the Seminole defense for another 146 rushing yards and four scores.
"I'm just proud of how he prepared for the game, how he was able to stay calm," U of L head coach Bobby Petrino said afterward. "He's got tremendous confidence. He's a great competitor and he really prepared for the game. Obviously you get nervous because he's so young, and you got all these things going around - and more interviews than he should have to do but we do them anyway. But, he was able to you know focus, concentrate and just a tremendous leader by the way he plays the game."
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Still stinging from the 63-20 defeat and potentially wanting to protect his own Heisman candidates, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fischer was brief in compliments of the Cardinals quarterback.
"He's a really good player," he said. "He's athletic, they are dynamic, they've got good play-makers around him, they've got a good system. He can run it, he can throw it. I mean he's just a really good football player and they are coached well."
With discussion of Heisman Trophy candidates rising with each passing week, Jackson is certain to highlight the talk among national pundits and voters.
"I try not to pay attention to that," Jackson said. "I try to keep that out of my mind. I'm not the type to get hyped like I said before. I'm just chill."
Here's a look how Jackson is stacking among U of L's best-ever, in the ACC and nationally:
He is already the school's career leader for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns by a quarterback and he's already seventh on the program's list for most 100-yard rushing games with eight. On Saturday, his five touchdowns tied a school record that has remained untouched for 90 years. He became just the second player, tying Fred Koster (1926), to score at least four touchdowns in back-to-back outings.
His 610 yards of offense against Syracuse established a new ACC record and his opening week eight touchdowns equaled the league record. He's currently the ACC leader in total offense (459 yds/game), passing efficiency (181.8), rushing yards (159/game), rushing touchdowns (10), touchdowns (18) and scoring (20/game) and is second in passing yards (304/game).
Nationally, Jackson is among the top 20 in passing efficiency, total rushing yards, passing yards per game, passing touchdowns, rushing touchdowns and scoring.