One play, 16 seconds, and 72 yards is all it took for the Cardinals to get on the scoreboard on the road against the Orange. A perfectly sold fake (just ask the cameraman) to Brandon Radcliff led to Lamar Jackson finding James Quick in stride en route to the end zone. The Louisville offense looked absolutely unstoppable at times last night. On the contrary, the offense was wildly infuriating at time as well.
Wide open dropped passes and fumbles led to a temporary stall in the offensive production during the 2nd and 3rd quarters. However, the Cardinals took care of business down the stretch in a game that was never in doubt, largely due to the 28 point 1st quarter.
Lamar Jackson continues to show the nation what we fans have been saying since the bowl game last year.
Amassing 610 yards (could’ve been much more without the dropped passes), Lamar set an ACC and school record for the 2nd straight week. At one point in the game, he had become the first player to ever record 400 yards passing and 200 yards rushing (his last rush went for -3 yards which dropped him to 199). He never got the chance to get back over 200 because his last snap of the game was taken to the house by Brandon Radcliffe on a 48 yard untouched touchdown run. That play made the score 55-28 with 8:55 left in the game, Lamar was no longer needed. As much as we would have loved to see Lamar achieve that 400/200 mark, his health is far more important (besides he’ll get that accolade before his time here at Louisville is up).
A 30 yard touchdown run by Jeremy Smith on the following drive made the final scoreboard read 62-28 in favor of the Louisville Cardinals. Lamar totaled 5 touchdowns (4 rushing, 1 passing) and had the play of the season so far when he hurdled an Orange defender en route to a walk in touchdown. His one passing touchdown went to James Quick on the first play, Jamari Staples and Quick were the leading receivers with 5 receptions for 136 yards and 4 receptions for 108 yards respectively.
The defense was solid for most of the game with the exception of the 2nd quarter. The Cardinals outgained the Orange 845-414 (yes you read that right, 845 yards). Syracuse ran a total of 93 plays to Louisville’s 81 during a game that seemed to last forever. Safety Dee Smith was ejected in the 2nd half on a weak targeting call and will have to sit out the 1st half of next week’s Florida State game.
If you’re like me, you found this game extremely frustrating. Even though the Orange never got within 14 points. It’s a new era of Louisville football and the standards are higher than ever. Walking out of the Carrier Dome with a 34 point win and knowing it could’ve (and probably should’ve) been more than that is an awesome feeling. This team is special, they know they’re good but they haven’t even come close to reaching their ceiling yet.
Next week, the much-anticipated game against Florida State will certainly force the Cards to be crisp and focused for all 4 quarters. If that happens, well you already know.