Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson accounted for eight touchdowns in the Cardinals’ season opener last week. It appeared as though he was aiming to top that number in the team’s ACC opener at Syracuse on Friday night.
The blossoming signal-caller lofted a beautiful strike on the first play of the game for a 72-yard score and didn’t look back from there in a remarkable first half of play to help Louisville take a 35-21 lead going into the locker room.
Jackson accounted for a remarkable five total touchdowns in the first half and ran his season total to 13 scores over just four quarters of work in 2016. For comparison’s sake, Missouri’s offense found the end zone just 15 times all of last season.
The leader on every September Heisman ballot after Friday, Jackson had 327 yards passing and also chipped in with 139 yards rushing but did throw an interception just before time expired at the half. He walked into the end zone nearly untouched for three of his four scores on the ground however — hurdling a poor defender on one touchdown run to boot.
Jackson would have had even more video game numbers too were it not for two first half fumbles and several drops that ended drives prematurely and gave the ball back to Syracuse.
The Orange’s offense showed flashes of what it could become under new head coach Dino Babers as the game turned into a bit of a track meet during the second quarter. Quarterback Eric Dungey was 19-of-35 for 181 yards and three touchdowns. The ground game behind Moe Neal (five carries for 23 yards) had trouble getting going but the team was able to take advantage through the air with several busted plays turning into big gains.
The story of the first half belonged to Jackson though, who deserved every accolade and bit of praise thrown his way given what he did with the ball in his hands at the Carrier Dome.
The only question left might be how much he plays during the second half with a showdown against Florida State looming next week.