CRAWFORD | At the buzzer: Lamar (8 TDs) leads Louisville past Ch - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | At the buzzer: Lamar (8 TDs) leads Louisville past Charlotte 70-14

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AP photo. AP photo.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- When University of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson accounted for eight touchdowns and 550 yards of offense against the Cardinals’ second-team defense in the team’s spring game in April, many of us kind of wrote it off. He’d never do that kind of thing against a real team in a real game. Right?

Wrong. No. 19-ranked Louisville beat Charlotte 70-14 in a Thursday night beatdown that signaled, perhaps, the return of the Bobby Petrino offense that Cardinals’ fans have been anticipating since he returned to town more than two years ago.

Charlotte, let it be said, was woefully undermanned and overmatched. And there were a couple of red flags early, if you’re a Louisville fan.

But Jackson? My goodness. A quick look at the final horn:

1). GOT THE JOB DONE. Jackson threw for six touchdowns. He hit 10 receivers. He completed 17 of 23 passes for 286 yards and a 264.5 rating. Oh, and all of that was in the first half. Nobody expected him to run the ball much, but he did run it. In fact, his running was the catalyst early. He had 9 carries for 104 yards and two touchdowns. In the first quarter. He wound up with 119 yards on 11 carries. According to ESPN, he is the first player with six passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in the first half of a game in the modern era. His eight TDs accounted for in a game are a school record. When he left the game at halftime, he had accounted for Louisville’s last 13 touchdowns, dating to last season.

How dominant was Louisville’s first-half offense? It scored a touchdown every 4.875 plays. It had 25 first downs on 39 first-half plays. It averaged 11.8 yards per snap.

Louisville’s first-team defense also deserves a nod. It was expected to dominate, and it did. After giving up a few yards early, it settled in and wound up allowing just 92 total yards and five first downs in the half. Keith Kelsey, James Hearns and Devonte Fields caused havoc on almost every snap.

2). DIDN’T GET THE JOB DONE. Charlotte QB Kevin Olsen, who was caught on camera yelling “that’s on you” to his linemen after he fumbled on a sack in the first half.

And if you’re looking to nit-pick -- and why not -- Louisville’s offensive front had trouble picking up Charlotte’s all-out blitzing on the first few series, and the defense needed a few plays to get its rhythm. Against better competition, It might’ve burned them. Or not.

3). TURNING POINT. The Card March.

4). SURPRISE, SURPRISE. It raised a few eyebrows, no doubt, when, with nine seconds left, Petrino sprinted down the sidelines to call timeout with the Cardinals at the Charlotte one-yard line and leading 49-0. It would be his first-team offense’s final action of the game, and he wanted that TD. He got it. Say what you will about Petrino, he said he wanted his offense to “cut it loose.” Against an overmatched opponent, it did.

5). PLAYERS OF THE GAME. Lamar Jackson the passer. Lamar Jackson the runner. James Hearns. Devonte Fields.

6). STAT OF THE DAY. Number of seasons when U of L’s football team has scored fewer total touchdowns than the eight Jackson scored in the first half Thursday: 13. All of them before the modern era. The last of those was 1942, in a war-shortened five-game schedule.

7). WHAT WE LEARNED. These two guys should always sit together.

8). NOW WHAT? Things get significantly more difficult next week, when Louisville visits Syracuse in the ACC opener for both teams. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. next Friday in the Carrier Dome.

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