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.