On the first play of the game, Lamar Jackson lofted a beautifully timed pass right into the hands of James Quick. The play went for a 72 yard touchdown and would be indicative of what kind of night it was going to be for Louisville and for their quarterback.
Jackson accounted for five scores in a 62-28 win over Syracuse on Friday night as he fell just one yard short of becoming the first quarterback in FBS history to throw for over 400 yards and run for another 200 (he ended up with 411 through the air and 199 on the ground). The signal-caller looked effortless in moving the ball during the ACC opener for both teams, racking up a conference record 610 yards of offense while directing a balanced attack that saw tailback Brandon Radcliffe average an eye-popping 17.2 yards per carry on his way to an 155 yard, one score game.
If those sound like video game numbers on offense, that’s because it felt like one was being played as they were being racked up in real time at the Carrier Dome. Louisville set a school record with 844 yards of total offense and amazingly topped the previous mark after just three quarters.
Syracuse also had numerous school records fall… defensively. As bad as things were on that side of the ball for the home team, they could have been much, much worse had the Cardinals not turned the ball over three times and dropped numerous passes throughout the night.
Despite all that offensive production, Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino will likely be agitated by some of those minor mistakes given that his squad will host a top 10 team in Florida State next Saturday. The contest is already shaping up to be one of the biggest ACC games of the year and could go a long way in determining who might challenge Clemson’s Deshaun Watson as the conference’s top Heisman Trophy candidate.
For Syracuse, which looked completely overmatched defensively, there were a few positives to take away from the night and almost all had to do with big plays from Dino Babers’ high-flying offense. Quarterback Eric Dungey finished 25-of-51 for 255 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver Amba Etta-Tawo once again made his presence known for the Orange, with 103 yards and a pair of scores to lead the team.
If it was any consolation to any of the players on the Orange offense given the score, at least they were able to watch Jackson put up historic numbers in an all around incredible effort between the lines.
College football recruiting has kicked into full gear the past few weeks and one of the more interesting decisions this month that could have a big impact on next season is finding out which school former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham will be playing for in 2017.
The signal-caller threw for 12 touchdowns and over 1,200 yards after taking over as the Bears starter midway through last year but he opted to transfer away from the program this summer when Art Briles was fired as the result of a sexual assault scandal at the school. While many have considered SEC schools such as Auburn, Texas A&M and Florida to be the favorites to land the coveted junior college QB, there may be another school that is in the running too: whichever program hires Baylor offensive coordinator Kendal Briles.
“KB is my dude,” Stidham told ESPN.com. “I’m super tight with him. I still talk to him all the time. I’m still waiting to see what happens with him and where he might go and just take it into consideration.”
It remains to be seen if new head coach Matt Rhule will retain the younger Briles but it seems unlikely given the events in Waco the past six months and the school likely wanting a complete divorce from the previous regime. Kendal Briles own job prospects seem a bit unknown given everything at play but it could be an interesting combination for a head coach looking to jump start an offense.
There’s always talk of package deals in college basketball but this would be a potential one in football that may draw some interest.
And that’s the way it was, at least as it pertains to the Florida portion of Jordan Cronkrite‘s collegiate playing career.
Thursday, the Gators announced that Cronkrite has been granted permission to pursue other opportunities. The release from his scholarship will afford the running back the opportunity to transfer elsewhere.
If that elsewhere is at the FBS, the sophomore would have to sit out the 2017 season. He’d then have two seasons of eligibility remaining beginning in 2018.
Cronkrite was a four-star 2015 recruit who was rated as the No. 34 player at any position in the state of Florida.
As a true freshman, Cronkrite ran for 157 yards and three touchdowns on 44 carries. This past season, he carried the ball 31 times for 145 yards and a touchdown. His 20 receptions were fourth on the Gators.
Brady Hoke had a miserable one-and-done at Oregon, and this piling on just adds to it.
Brought in to turnaround the Ducks’ defense, Hoke instead was in charge of one of the worst units in the country. Their play, in very large part, helped bring an abrupt end to Mark Helfrich‘s three-year tenure in Eugene.
Helfrich was officially replaced by USF’s Willie Taggart earlier this week. The boss of Taggart’s boss, UO president Michael Schill, had one piece of advice and one piece of advice alone for his new head football coach.
Can we take that as confirmation that Hoke won’t be retained by the new regime? At least statistically, though, the president has a point, no matter how clumsily or ill-advised it may have been.
Out of the 128 teams listed on the NCAA’s official stats website, the Ducks were 126th in scoring and yards allowed; 121st in third-down percentage and rushing yards allowed; 117th in turnovers forced; and 114th in passing yards. Last season, the Ducks were 114th in scoring and 116th in yards.
And Taggart’s defense this season? The Bulls were 86th in scoring defense and 120th in yards allowed. So, there’s that.
A week after his departure from Notre Dame was revealed Malik Zaire has gotten down to saying goodbye.
In a letter to The Observer, the university’s student newspaper, Zaire thanked “the amazing students and staff that I’ve met through the years for helping me grow into the person I’ve always wanted to be.” The notes comes a week after the quarterback was given an unconditional release from his Irish scholarship.
Dear Notre Dame students and staff,
My life changed for the better the moment I stepped onto the University of Notre Dame’s beautiful campus. The one goal I had set in my mind to achieve was to become a better man, a Notre Dame man. After growing through many trials and triumphs, the thing I’ve learned most from my experience was that if you don’t believe in yourself first, then no one else will. I believed in becoming a better man and succeeding through any circumstance, and I can say that I’ve truly accomplished that. I often refer to the famous quote from the movie “Catch Me If You Can” that was well put by Frank Abagnale:
“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out.”
I’ve put my heart, soul and passion into the University, the football program, the South Bend community and the Irish community worldwide. I have the unbelievable honor to represent this University to the fullest as a student and soon-to-be alumni. Thank you to the amazing students and staff that I’ve met through the years for helping me grow into the person I’ve always wanted to be. I love the Irish and will always be an Irish alum no matter where I go! I look forward to keeping in touch. Let’s change the world!
Zaire expects to graduate in December, meaning he’d be eligible immediately at whatever FBS program he ultimately lands. The senior has already or will visit North Carolina and Wisconsin. Pittsburgh is also believed to be in play as well.