BOZICH | The Best Heisman Moment by Lamar Jackson for Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | The Best Heisman Moment by Lamar Jackson for Louisville yet

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Lamar Jackson threw four touchdown passes, including the game-winner with 13 seconds to play, against Virginia Saturday. Lamar Jackson threw four touchdown passes, including the game-winner with 13 seconds to play, against Virginia Saturday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Lamar Jackson did not need another snapshot to add to his spectacular Heisman Trophy portfolio, but he created one anyway.

For more than 58 minutes, this game against Virginia was not following Jackson's Heisman script. Sacked five times. Trailing for most of the game. Down by 10 points in the third quarter. Receivers dropping passes as if the ball was coated with olive oil.

Intercepted once. Chased up and down and all around Scott Stadium by the University of Virginia defense. More dropped passes.

Don’t forget this scene: Thousands of raucous UVa students roaring from the grassy knoll beyond the end zone that the University of Louisville was attacking, eager to celebrate a remarkable 25-24 victory by a Virginia team that was supposed to lose by 33 points.

Think about the consequences: The end of Louisville's playoff hopes. A dent in Jackson's season-long lead in the Heisman race.

Check the clock: 13 seconds to play.

Now check the coverage: Man to man. Make that ferociously tight man to man.

Jackson saw more than that. He saw a Virginia defensive back giving up three inches to Jaylen Smith, Louisville’s sturdy 6-foot-4, 210 pound receiver. Jackson saw another thing, too: A Virginia safety creeping up to stop the run. Jackson sees everything this season.

What’s on the line?

“Everything,” Jackson said. “Our whole season. We just knew what we had to do, get a touchdown … I knew what time it was. Just get in the end zone and get this victory.”

Mark it down as time for Jackson to make the most precise and poised throw of his life.

Jackson delivered a perfect rainbow over the straining hands of Virginia’s Juan Thornhill into the confident reach of Smith, who had flashed 29 yards down the right sideline, plucking his prize three yards into the end zone before beginning the celebration that confirmed Louisville’s 32-25 victory.

“He threw it to a spot where only I could get it and the DB had no chance to get it,” Smith said. “Those are the little things that make Lamar the best quarterback in the country.”

Those Virginia students ready to storm the field?

“We’ll see how that goes,” Smith said, with a wink.

They never made it past security.

In a season when Jackson had already done everything, this was his plus-one moment. 

Leading Louisville 75 yards for the winning score in the final 117 seconds of a game where Louisville played as ineffectively as the fifth-ranked Cardinals have played all season. Converting a equally clutch fourth-and-three pass to Cole Hikutini to sustain the drive.

This is what Jackson did on the final Louisville drive: Run three times for 34 yards. Complete two of four passes for 34 more. 

This is what Jackson did Saturday afternoon: Completed 24 of 41 passes for 361 yards and four touchdowns in a game when his offensive line never unpacked its tenacity and determination to protect him.

All of that with Louisville’s one-loss record and position in the first college football playoff poll (out Tuesday night) on the line.

“We go through the two-minute drill in practice,” Jackson said. “It’s fun being the quarterback and the leader of the team. You’ve got to know what you’re doing. You just have to stay focused.

“If you get out of your element and let the crowd get to you and let the defense harass you, you’re not going to be able to play the game.”

“I have not seen anyone better,” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. “But then again, I don’t see everybody. I don’t see anybody out West or up North. But I see Lamar and I cannot imagine anyone there being someone better than he is.”

Heisman numbers and Heisman moments, that’s what Jackson has now. 

Make it 22 touchdown passes and 2,522 yards throwing the football. Jackson will bounce into Boston College next Saturday needing two yards to become a 1,000-yard rusher. The man is responsible for 38 Louisville touchdowns, rushing and passing.

He actually roared past the 1,000-yard barrier Saturday, gaining 134 yards on 18 dynamic carries, including one for 37 yards. But 44 yards were subtracted from his total because of the five sacks, which tied his season high.

Not that Jackson worried. Bonnafon said that Jackson was smiling the way he usually smiles when he took control in the huddle for the final drive.

“We know the fourth quarter is crunch time,” Jackson said. “Either win or go home.”

By game’s end, everybody was smiling, even Petrino. The quarterback wrapped his coach in a hug in the hallway leading to the Louisville locker room after the victory was secure. 

After answering questions from the media, Jackson tugged the hood on his sweatshirt atop his head, grabbed his post-game snack from Raising Cane’s and rushed back to the field to thank three friends from Boynton Beach, Fla., (his hometown) for traveling to Charlottesville to watch him perform.

“That’s just Lamar,” said Lyndon Clemons, the former assistant principal at Boynton Beach High. “He’s just the best.”

The best — with one more prime-time Heisman Trophy moment against Virginia to prove it.

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