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.
For the time being, there will be no Pac-12 Just After Breakfast.
The conference confirmed last month that preliminary discussions about having an undetermined number of league games kicking off at 9 a.m. PT/noon ET were underway, and could possibly be implemented as early as the 2019 season. Some head coaches in the conference were for the idea; at least one who has experienced early kickoffs in another conference isn’t exactly a fan of the idea.
According to the esteemed Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, Chris Petersen and others can rest easy for now as the talk of league games in that noon ET time slot has been tabled.
The conference has opted against scheduling games this season at 9 a.m. PT/10 a.m. MT as a means of gaining exposure on the new FOX broadcast window.
Andrew Walker, head of communications for the Pac-12, said several schools are interested in playing early, but the conference couldn’t find “good options” over the coming three months.
The plan, Walker added, is to monitor whichever Big 12 and Big Ten games are slotted into the 9 a.m. window, then re-assess for next season.
How this early-morning scheduling tack tracks will be fascinating to watch play out in the coming months, especially as it pertains to fans on the West Coast embracing the idea of showing up on a Saturday morning at a stadium an hour or two before a football game that starts at nine in the morning their time (or 10 Mountain Time).
Finally, there’s some positive personnel news for the Georgia Tech football program.
Following rumors of his future at Notre Dame, Derrik Allen confirmed nearly two weeks ago that he would be leaving the Fighting Irish and transferring to the Yellow Jackets. In a press release Thursday morning, Tech confirmed that the defensive back has enrolled in classes and has been added to the team’s roster.
Not surprisingly, the school also confirmed that Allen will have to sit out the 2019 season because of NCAA transfer regulations. Beginning with 2020, he’ll have three seasons of eligibility to use.
“We’re excited to welcome Derrik home to Atlanta and into our organization,” head coach Geoff Collins said in a statement. “He’s a great addition to our football program, both on and off the field, and our campus community.”
A four-star member of Notre Dame’s 2018 recruiting class, Allen was rated as the No. 9 safety in the country and the No. 14 player at any position in the state of Georgia. He didn’t see the field as a true freshman and took a redshirt.
Blacksburg has become quite the fertile recruiting ground for Mike Locksley’s first-year Maryland football program.
In January, wide receiver Sean Savoy completed his transfer from Virginia Tech by moving on to Maryland; four months later, Savoy’s former teammate, Josh Jackson, became his current teammate yet again as the quarterback moved to the Terrapins from the Hokies. Wednesday, Dejuan Ellis indicated that he will join those former teammates as he too has decided to transfer to the Terps.
The wide receiver had opted to transfer from the Hokies earlier this offseason.
Ellis was a three-star member of Tech’s 2018 recruiting class. The Owings Mills, MD, native took a redshirt as a true freshman.
It’s believed the receiver will be forced to sit out the 2019 season, leaving him with three years of eligibility moving forward.
Here we go. Again.
Quite the kerfuffle was kicked up earlier this month when Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell and the family of James Hudson, who transferred from Michigan to UC late last year, accused the offensive lineman’s former school in general and its head football coach specifically of not doing enough — or doing the absolute bare minimum — when it came to an immediate-eligibility waiver being sought by the player. Despite the citing of mental health issues, that appeal was denied.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Myles Sims had his appeal for a waiver for immediate eligibility at Georgia Tech denied as well. The defensive back had transferred to Tech from Michigan earlier this offseason.
In a conversation this week with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sims’ parents laid the onus for their son’s denial squarely at the feet of the University of Michigan, intimating, as Hudson’s family did, that U-M did the absolute bare minimum when it came to the waiver process. Even worse, Sims’ family claimed U-M misled the NCAA by providing inaccurate information.
From the Journal-Constitution:
They also believe that a statement from Michigan regarding his transfer – a required part of the application process for a waiver – included inaccurate information about his reasons for leaving that could have damaged his chances for receiving a waiver.
“The disappointment is in knowing that they included just a few words outside of what we said to mislead the NCAA in their decision-making,” Katrina Sims, Myles’ mother, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday. “Whether that weighed in heavily or not on the documentation that we provided, we take issue with that.
The newspaper also wrote that “[a] Michigan team spokesman stated that the school, as is the case with all transfers leaving the school seeking waivers, did not oppose Sims’ waiver request and followed standard policy.”
I don’t know who’s right or who’s wrong in these situations, but I do know it’s something that will be discussed on the recruiting trail and used by rival schools in luring and/or flipping potential prospects. So, do the bare minimum in such situations at your own peril.