Jackson leads No. 13 Louisville past Syracuse, 62-28
Lamar Jackson continued his early season onslaught, throwing a long touchdown pass and running for four more scores to help No. 13 Louisville rout Syracuse 62-28 on Friday night in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Jackson, the national offensive player of the week for his performance in the opener against Charlotte, a 70-14 victory, picked up right where he left off. He hit a wide-open James Quick for a 72-yard score on the game's first play from scrimmage to put the Orange defense on its heels, and it stayed there during a first-quarter blitz by Jackson and company.
"He had a great game," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "What I was most pleased with was how well he prepared for the game. He worked extremely hard all week. He did a great job executing. He threw the ball around and ran real well. He did a great job of everything we asked him to do."
Jackson, who was rarely pressured by a Syracuse defense that was content to lay back, scored on runs of seven, 72 and 13 yards to give Louisville a 28-7 lead after one quarter. He had 108 yards rushing and 207 yards passing as the Cardinals (2-0) outgained the Orange 352-98 in the period, then tacked on a 9-yard scoring run in the second for a 35-7 lead. That was one for the highlight reels, with Jackson displaying hurdler-like ability with a leap over a Syracuse defender at the goal line.
"I had to take flight, score and get into the end zone," Jackson said. "I think I did something like that in high school. I feel like I can score (on any play). I feel I can get my team in the end zone on any play."
Jackson finished with 199 yards rushing on 21 carries and was 20 for 39 for 411 yards with one interception as the Cardinals set a school record and came within 13 yards of the ACC record with 845 yards offensively. It was the most ever allowed by Syracuse, eclipsing the mark of 654 by West Virginia in 1993.
"I'm not sure anybody could catch him," Syracuse coach Dino Babers said. "You get mad because they couldn't catch the guy. He's the fastest guy on the football field. He got into space. I saw him outrun contain with three guys who were exactly where they were supposed to be. He should have got tackled for a 2-yard loss and he runs all the way to the other sideline and steps out of bounds."
Eric Dungey was 25 for 51 yards for 255 yards passing and scored on a 1-yard run late in the third quarter for the Orange.
Syracuse (1-1) tried to claw its way back into it with a pair of scores late in the second, both by wideout Amba Etta-Tawo in the final three minutes of the period. On a 47-yard catch-and run, Etta-Tawo broke two tackles and slipped another on his way into the end zone and capped the rally with a four-yard catch in the final minute.
In the opener against Charlotte, Jackson accounted for eight touchdowns and 405 yards in the first half, then sat the second. No breather on this hot night inside the Carrier Dome.
Louisville halted the Orange rush with another score early in the third quarter, capped by a 21-yard end around by wideout Traveon Samuel for a 42-21 lead.
The Cardinals moved up six spots in the AP poll after their lopsided victory over Charlotte. Jackson accounted for a stunning 405 yards and eight touchdowns, six passing in the first half of that game. Another jump is on the way next week.
LOUISVILLE: The Cardinals proved the opening week was no fluke. They're for real, and as long as Jackson stays healthy the Atlantic Division of the ACC promises to be more interesting. Jackson's only concern on offense might be his receivers, who had six drops in the first half and more in the second. Jackson read blitzes well enough against Charlotte to hit running backs who converted those catches into TDs. He didn't need to against Syracuse, which rarely blitzed, as Louisville averaged more than 10 yards per play.
SYRACUSE: The defense wasn't tested in the opener against FCS Colgate. It was by the Cardinals, early and often. The Orange has a lot of work ahead on both sides of the ball, but showed some grit by not caving under the early barrage. The new up-tempo offense of new coach Dino Babers stalled a week after purring (Dungey was 34-for-40 passing for 355 yards in the 33-7 win over Colgate). But the Orange have found a go-to guy in Etta-Tawo, who has 19 catches for 314 yards in two games. The Orange also could use some semblance of a run game after gaining just 104 yards on 39 carries, it second straight subpar performance.
LOUISVILLE: The Cardinals get their first true test of the young season when they host No. 3 Florida State on Sept. 17.
SYRACUSE: The Orange host South Florida on Sept. 17, their third straight home game.