BOZICH | Louisville's Lamar Jackson racing into record book -- a - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Louisville's Lamar Jackson racing into record book -- and win column

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Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is already racing into the record book. Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is already racing into the record book.

RALEIGH, N. C. (WDRB) – The book says the advantage goes with the veteran quarterback. Take the fifth-year guy over the first-year kid. Experience. That’s where the edge lies in college football.

Especially when the older guy is playing at home and has started the season by completing nearly every pass he has attempted, the way that Jacoby Brissett had started this season for North Carolina State.

Especially when the younger guy is starting on the road for the first time in his five-game college career and the wet and windy conditions made you wonder how many times Lamar Jackson would turn the football over for the University of Louisville.

Here is how many times Jackson turned it over: None.

Louisville beat North Carolina State, 20-13, Saturday at Carter-Finley Stadium. Jackson, the freshman, did more to help the Cardinals win than Brissett, the senior, did for the Wolfpack.

Now Louisville is 2-3 and N.C. State is no longer unbeaten. Now the Cards have won a game that had to win and can travel to Florida State on Oct. 17 with growing confidence.

“He has all the pieces to the puzzle,” Louisville linebacker James Burgess said.

Every piece except experience. Once that comes, beware.

Jackson’s passing numbers against the Wolfpack were not spectacular. Far from it. He completed only 10 of 27 passes, just two in the second half. You expect more than 103 passing yards from a Bobby Petrino quarterback.

That’s OK. The world knows that Jackson has significant work to do throwing the football. Jackson remains too eager to tuck the football and run, perhaps because his blockers sometimes struggle to protect him.

But in the second quarter, when he needed to read a defense and throw a 20-yard touchdown strike to Devante Peete with two defenders in the area, Jackson delivered. That scoring pass bumped the Cardinals to a 14-0 lead, a lead they did not surrender.

Before that, Jackson made one play that Brissett will never make. Don’t think that I’m picking on the North Carolina State quarterback. I’m not. There aren’t many quarterbacks who could make the play Jackson made about 11 minutes into the game.

Facing a second-and-14 from the Louisville 32, Jackson took the snap and danced several steps to his right. He considered tucking the football into the gut of his halfback.

Then Jackson noticed something: N.C. State’s defensive front anticipated the handoff. So instead of a handoff, there was liftoff.

Jackson kept the ball, sidestepped past the line of scrimmage. He jumped away from the linebackers and made a hard cut to his left into the North Carolina State secondary. Lamar Jackson will tell you what happens when he gets into a defensive secondary.

Nobody will catch him.

“Can’t get caught by a safety,” Jackson said, smiling.

You cannot be caught from behind?

“I’m not going to say that because anything can happen,” he said. “But most likely I’m not going to let anybody catch me.”

Goodbye.

“He read it,” Petrino said. “He read the defensive end. I thought the running back carried out his fake really well. Lamar made one cut and took it the distance.”

“The guy has electrifying speed,” Burgess said. “He’s just an athlete. He has very good feet. He’s very fast. He’s very agile. He gets in and out of his breaks and he accelerates very fast. And he has top-end speed.”

Thanks to Kelly Dickey, a passionate Louisville football fan, here are some statistics that illustrate how remarkably dangerous Lamar Jackson is running the football.

The 68-yard touchdown was his fifth rushing touchdown this season, in only five games. It was also his second rushing touchdown of 68 yards or more.

The most rushing touchdowns by a Louisville quarterback in one season is eight -- Benny Russell in 1965. With his next rushing touchdown, Jackson will tie Dave Ragone, who ran for six during the 2000 season. I watched Dave Ragone run the football. He was difficult to tackle, especially near the goal line.

I wouldn’t expect Ragone’s spot in the record book to last through the end of the month. Russell should also be bumped aside by mid November. Jackson finished with 121 yards. After five games, Jackson leads U of L with 435 yards net rushing, nearly double Brandon Radcliff’s 237 yards.

According to cfbstats.com, Jackson ranks third nationally in rushing yards by quarterbacks, tops in the ACC.

But the world had already seen the way Jackson could run. He showed that skill against Auburn and Samford. The improvement Jackson made against North Carolina State came in protecting the football.

No interceptions. No fumbles.

The Cardinals did not turn the ball over. The Wolfpack turned it over twice. Critical difference.

“I wasn’t trying to throw the ball around,” Jackson said. “I had to do whatever to get my team to win.”

Running. Passing. Or protecting the football.

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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