After the first College Football Playoff Rankings were released on Tuesday, the Louisville Cardinals found themselves on the outside looking in, as expected. What wasn’t expected was how far outside they were. After spending the majority of the season in the top 5 of the polls (#5 in the AP Poll for last few weeks), Louisville was jumped by Ohio State and Texas A&M in the first installation of this year’s College Football Playoff Rankings. Ranked 7th, the Cards still have a shot to get in, but they have to be impressive (I don’t buy the committee saying “margin of victory doesn’t factor in”, Bobby put the committee on the spot with his sportsmanship comment). Anyways, the Louisville Cardinals were exactly that yesterday, impressive. The Cards made a statement with a 52-7 victory over Boston College on the road.
Boston College isn’t a powerhouse program, but they have boasted one of the nation’s top defenses the past few years and yesterday the Cards shredded through it with ease. It started on the first drive when Lamar scampered for a 69-yard touchdown run less than 2 minutes into the game. The tone was set and the message was clear, we aren’t playing around anymore. Lamar would go onto add 7 total touchdowns to his Heisman campaign (I mean come on, the guy has 3 games with 7 total touchdowns this season, no one else has more than 1, have fun fighting for 2nd). He threw for 4 touchdowns and added 3 on the ground, he completed 12 of his 17 passes for 231 yards and added 185 on the ground on 15 carries. He accounted for 416 of the 515 total yards, and he didn’t even play most of the second half.
Although Lamar put on a show, the defense was phenomenal as well. The top-10 nationally ranked unit allowed only 9 first downs, 207 yards (150 passing, 57 rushing), held an always eager to be embarrassed by the Cards, Pat Towles to 13-21 passing for 147 yards, a touchdown, an interception, and a fumble, posting a 32 QBR (I genuinely don’t understand why the guy loves playing us so much). Forced 3 turnovers (2 fumbles, 1 interception), and appeared dominant from start to finish. I know BC isn’t an offensive juggernaut but the Louisville defense really seems to be hitting their stride as of late.
Now it’s time for my 3 impact players of the game. #1 Lamar Jackson, no shocker here, the guy is just unstoppable. At a time, Boston College had attempted the ole “keep away from Louisville’s offense”. It didn’t work. Louisville put up 35 points on just their 26th play of the game, Lamar had the offense clicking on all cylinders. When it’s all said and done this year, Louisville WILL have its first Heisman Trophy Winner in program history in Lamar Jackson. #2 Jaylen Smith, the sophomore had 6 receptions for 123 yards and another touchdown to bring his season total to 6. He’s quietly having one of the best seasons for a sophomore receiver in a Louisville uniform. #3 James Quick, the senior returned to form after an abysmal performance against Virginia with 3 receptions for 78 yards and 2 touchdowns. With only 3 regular season games left, Louisville needs everyone at their best and we got to see a glimpse of that yesterday (I say a glimpse because outside of Lamar the running game wasn’t as productive as it had been all season.
Texas A&M lost, they’re out of the CFP. Washington and Ohio State both won so Louisville will likely be placed 6th this week when the rankings come out on Tuesday night. Chaos happens every year, the Aggies lost to a 3-5 Mississippi State team that had just lost to UK, Washington hosts USC this coming week and then travels to #25 Washington State to close their season, both of those games will be tough. Ohio State still has Michigan State in 2 weeks and Michigan to close their season. The Cards need both of those teams to drop one of their final 3 games, if that happens Louisville’s ticket to the College Football Playoff just might be punched. It’s not farfetched to believe that it can happen, I believe when the final rankings come out, Louisville will be the 4th team chosen. All the Cards can do right now is take care of business like they did yesterday. Up next, Louisville hosts Wake Forest this Saturday for the first home Saturday night FBS game since Houston in 2013.