CRAWFORD | All Jackson, all night as Louisville beats Texas A&M - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | All Jackson, all night as Louisville beats Texas A&M 27-21 in Music City Bowl

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WDRB) — It was all Lamar Jackson, all night. The University of Louisville freshman quarterback was fantastic on the ground, good through the air and in the end was too much for Texas A&M, though it got interesting late, in a 27-21 Louisville victory.

Jackson, who now holds the Louisville single-season record for TD runs by a quarterback, ran for two scores and passed for two. He rolled up 226 rushing yards on 26 carries, and threw for 227 yards on 12 of 26 passing. Jackson became just the third QB ever to run and pass for 200 yards in a bowl game -- the other two are Johnny Manziel and Vince Young.

But it wasn’t easy. The Cardinal offense struggled at times, and went just 4 of 14 on third down. And the defense had to make a major stand on Texas A&M’s final possession to preserve the win, which guaranteed Louisville’s fourth straignt season with eight or more wins.

The Cardinals got an outstanding defensive performance from Devonte Fields — seven solo tackles and three sacks — to go along with two huge batted down passes on Texas A&M’s final series, in Louisville territory. 

A fourth-down incompletion by Jake Hubenak should’ve ended the game, but a hands-to-the-face penalty on Louisville defensive lineman Pio Vatuvei kept the drive alive. Then Louisville fans had to hold their breath through a video review on a catch at the 5-yard line by A&M’s Kirk Christian.

The catch was overturned, setting up third-and-eight at the Louisville 24. Fields batted down Hubenak’s next passing, and on fourth down his pass to the end zone fell incomplete.

Final stats (click to enlarge)

FOURTH QUARTER:

4:54. Just a reminder, the game isn't over. Texas A&M just put together an 8-play, 86-yard scoring drive that took only 2:11. Louisville gets the ball back with 4:47 to play after Jake Hubenak's 29-yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk pulled the Aggies within six points. Still work to do for the Cardinals. Louisville 27, Texas A&M 21.

THIRD QUARTER:

The University of Louisville football team is one quarter away from beating Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl. A 17-yard touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson to Keith Towbridge put the Cards up 27-14, and they'll take that lead into the fourth quarter.

The Cards are 6-0 this season when leading after three quarters. Jackson has 285 yards rushing and 227 through the air.

Stats (click to enlarge)

3:01: After a series of stalled drives, -- and a wasted fumble recovery by James Hearns -- Lamar Jackson finally sparked the Louisville offense to a score. It followed a Josh Harvey-Clemons interception. Jackson provided the big play himself, a 37-yard run to the Texas A&M 29. He found Cole Hikutini on a big third-down completion. Then hit Keith Towbridge in the back of the end zone from 17 yards out, to put the Cards back up by two touchdowns. Jackson now has run for 182 yards and thrown for 227. Louisville 27, Texas A&M 14.

HALFTIME RECAP

It's halftime in Nashville, where the University of Louisville football team leads Texas A&M 20-14, but slowed down a bit after looking as if it might blow the game open early.

Lamar Jackson has been the story early. He rushed for 138 yards on 11 carries and 2 touchdowns in the first half, and threw for 187 yards and a score. But Texas A&M slowed down his run game in the second quarter, giving up 12 yards four carries.

The Cardinals' offense bogged down on some second quarter drives -- it's just 1 of 6 on third down in the half -- and the defense is feeling the effects of some injuries, particularly to Trevon Young, who left the game on a cart and was taken to a local hospital after what team officials now are describing as a hip injury.

Tra Carson has led the Aggies with 87 yards on 13 carries and wideout Josh Reynolds has hurt the Cardinals with 5 catches for 83 yards. 

Halftime stats (click to enlarge)

SECOND QUARTER

1:51 Just when it looked like Texas A&M was disintegrating into a pile of false start penalties, Jake Hubenak hit Josh Reynolds for 20 yards on third and 11. A tough blow because it was Reynolds fifth catch, for 83 yards, and Texas A&M had completed only 7 in the game. After another completion on the next play, Tra Carson then sprinted 55 yards to the Louisville 4, and Hubenak found Ricky Seals-Jones in the end zone for the TD pass. It completed an impressive 8-play, 97-yard drive that took 3:54. It's still a ballgame. Louisville 20, Texas A&M 14.

12:57: John Wallace missed a 49-yard field goal attempt, after the Cards drove 39 yards in five plays. The key play was a 36-yard pass from Jackson to Cole Hikutini, but the Cards had a couple of negative-yardage plays after that, and Jackson had an overthrow on third down.

FIRST QUARTER

Click stats to enlarge:

1:14: Well, Lamar Jackson is exciting. He took off right, cut back left, made a few wiggles and was gone. Nobody had the speed to catch him on a 61-yard touchdown run. The Louisville drive was only three plays, 82 yards. Jackson now has, get this, 126 yards on 7 carries. And it's only the first quarter. Louisville 20, Texas A&M 7.

2:25: Texas A&M is on the board. Helped along by a blown coverage by Trumaine Washington, and a late hit by Josh Harvey-Clemons, Texas A&M went 70 yards in 8 plays and 2:50 to pull within a touchdown. The big play was a 33-yard pass from Jake Hubenak to Josh Reynolds. Tra Carson had the TD run from nine yards out, making two nice inside cuts to avoid tacklers and run in nearly untouched. Louisville 13, Texas A&M 7.

Trevon Young update: Per Jody Demling down on the field, Young has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation.

5:22: Devonte Fields actually got it started with a sack, running down Texas A&M quarterback Jake Hubenak for a 12-yard loss. That set up a punt from the Aggies' own end zone, and Jaire Alexander took it back right up the middle of the defense, returning it 32 yards. The offense had only 21 yards left to the goal line. Jackson ran 15 yards on the second play, and after a replay fumble challenge. Two plays later, Jackson rolled right and found Micky Crum in the end zone. Four plays, 21 yards in 1:19, and the Cards are up two touchdowns, though the extra point was no good. Louisville 13, Texas A&M 0.

Trevon Young injured: The Cardinals' talented outside linebacker sustained a strange looking injury. He was pursuing a ball carrier when he suddenly pulled up and appeared to reach for his hip or hamstring area. And then he didn't move. Trainers sprinted to him and worked with him for about seven minutes on the field. A cart was called and he was carted off, still lying on his side. We'll update when we hear something.

11:56: A 56-yard pass from Lamar Jackson to Cole Hikutini set the Cards up at the Texas A&M seven yard line, and two plays later Jackson carried it in himself to give Louisville the early lead. The drive covered 80 yards in just 5 plays and took 1:51. Louisville 7, Texas A&M 0.

First play controversy: On the first play from scrimmage, James Burgess laid a vicious hit on Texas A&M receiver Damian Ratley. He was called for targeting, and ejected from the game, ending his college career. Lots of strong reaction from Twitter, including a Tweet from his former defensive coordinator Vance Bedford, who Tweeted, "Bad call. Let kids play." Nonetheless the call stands. Burgess is gone, and Shaq Wiggins, who also was hit on the play remains shaken up. Still, the Cards get a third-down stop and get the ball back. I didn't get a very good screen shot of it. This picture to the right was just after the impact. Of all the people to get hit with something like that, it's a shame that it's Burgess. He's one of the nicest kids to deal with on the team. 

PREGAME SCENE:

Faces in the crowd: Patrick McSweeney, the St. Xavier student who suffers from leukemia, who got to play in last season's exhibition opener for Bellarmine against the University of Louisville.

Also Cardinals' basketball coach Rick Pitino, who got a big hand from the crowd -- and flashed an "L" for the faithful.

Also coach Paul Gehring also told me that David Akers will be on the Louisville sideline tonight. He spent a day with U of L kickers and worked with them earlier this week.

PREGAME NOTES:

— Bobby Petrino is 3-0 in his career vs. Texas A&M, all coming while he was coach at Arkansas, and all of the games (when it was then a non-conference rivalry) were played in Arlington, Texas. Petrino is 37-14 against SEC teams (6-2 while coach at Louisville) and in this game is seeking the 100th win of his college career. Of his 11 seasons as a college coach, nine have ended in bowl games, though he has lost three straight.

— A win would give Louisville its fourth straight season with 8 or more wins. They are 9-9-1 all time in bowl games.

— Texas A&M is 3-0 in its series against Louisville. The last meeting was in the Old Cardinal Stadium in 1994, a 26-10 Aggies win. They also won 42-7 in College Station in 1993 and 40-18 in College Station in 1992.

— The Music City Bowl is the fifth Louisville bowl game to be played in the state of Tennessee. The other four came in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.

— Louisville will be playing its 27th game in an NFL stadium, and third this season. The Cards are 14-12 in NFL facilities, after dropping a 34-24 loss to Auburn in the Georgia Dome and a 45-34 setback to Pittsburgh at Heinz Field.

— Louisville wideout Ja’Quay Savage played one year at Texas A&M. He appeared in 10 games for Kevin Sumlin in 2013, catching four passes for 71 yards and a touchdown.

— Petrino improved to 23-6 in non-conference games with last month’s win at Kentucky. Of his non-conference losses, three came in bowl games.

— The Cardinals are playing their 50th game against an opponent from Texas, and second this season (Houston, a 34-31 loss, earlier this season). 

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