Heisman Watch: Louisville's Lamar Jackson has encore performance
Louisville sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson seems to relish any moment he gets in the spotlight.
Whether it was a high-profile 63-20 win over Florida State in the early-season slate, or a close 42-36 defeat at the hands of Clemson a few weeks later, he always seems to grab at least a share of the headline.
Maybe that’s because his performances have been at the center of the Heisman Trophy race since Week 1 when Jackson and Louisville put up 70 points against the Charlotte 49ers. The precocious QB had eight touchdowns on that night — six through the air and two more on the ground.
More to the point, Jackson has been laying waste to opposing defenses all season long. And a trip to Boston College for a matchup with the Eagles meant more of the same was likely in store.
Things would get started early for Louisville, 76 seconds into the game to be exact. Just over a minute into the ballgame, Jackson dropped back and found a seam to scramble for a 69-yard touchdown.
One drive and three plays later, Jackson already had put his stamp on the game. However, he would not stop there.
After a punt from Boston College, a five-play drive followed that was capped off by a 30-yard toss from Jackson to wideout James Quick. Only six minutes in and the scoreboard read: Louisville 14, Boston College 0.
The scoring would not stop there as the Cardinals pushed the lead to 21-0 before the end of the first quarter (44-yard pass from Jackson to Jaylen Smith), and eventually 38-0 by the halftime buzzer (a 10-yard and a 5-yard strike from Jackson to Quick and tight end Cole Hikutini, respectively).
More of the same ensued after the halftime buzzer with Jackson racking up two more scores on the ground, a 13-yard scamper and a 53-yard dash that left defenders clutching at air.
The last score, which was Jackson’s seventh on the day, showcased the breakneck speed and jukes that have made him a terror to try to tackle since his early days.
An initial look on the play forces Boston College to stack the line of scrimmage in a third-and-short scenario, but this gives Jackson an opportunity to survey and make a pre-snap decision about where to go with the football.
A solid run fake gets the defense flowing in one direction, but a hard cut from Jackson creates a seam to run through. WIth all 11 players for Boston College within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage, all Jackson has to do is beat that first wave of defenders.
The long touchdowns and bevy of highlight reel plays have some Louisville fans thinking this is the year for their quarterback to take the Heisman honor.
Mind you, this Boston College defense is no slouch. The unit ranks near the top of the country in terms of getting after the quarterback — the team's 27 sacks are tied for 13th in the nation — but the defensive line had little answer for Jackson on this day.
To be fair, most of the country has had no answer for the sophomore signal-caller who already boasts an FBS-high total of 45 total touchdowns.
In this case, the goals of the team and the star player actually can coincide for Louisville. The best thing that Jackson can due to justify the early hype for his Heisman Trophy campaign is to continue to put a licking on opposing defenses.
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More to the point, Louisville needs to continue to win to remain on the radar of those who are tasked with the College Football Playoff rankings. Controlling your own destiny could be just the recipe that the Cardinals need to get back into the mix.
First impressions are important, but as far as Jackson is concerned he has been doing exactly what true Heisman candidates should do — playing his best football at the end of the season. Only time will tell who will be joining Jackson under the spotlight in New York, but the fun part is watching things play out.
Next up for Louisville: a Week 11 matchup with Wake Forest. Could be another big day for Jackson and company.
- Week 1: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson
- Week 2: Washington QB Jake Browning
- Week 3: Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
- Week 4: Michigan LB/WR Jabrill Peppers
- Week 5: North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky
- Week 6: Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
- Week 7: San Diego State RB Donnel Pumphrey
- Week 8: Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
- Week 9: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield