CRAWFORD | Game winner: Lamar Jackson Heisman Watch, Week 9 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Game winner: Lamar Jackson Heisman Watch, Week 9

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Lamar Jackson embraces Louisville quarterback coach Nick Petrino after Saturday's victory. (Louisville athletics photo by John Haag) Lamar Jackson embraces Louisville quarterback coach Nick Petrino after Saturday's victory. (Louisville athletics photo by John Haag)
Graphic from Lamar Jackson Heisman website: Lamar8.com Graphic from Lamar Jackson Heisman website: Lamar8.com

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — To win a Heisman Trophy, it seems, you need to have one game-winning drive, minimum. Why? Don’t ask me. I don’t make the rules. That’s just what people say. And who am I to doubt a nameless, faceless source of dubious knowledge?

Regardless, Lamar Jackson now can check that box off his To-Do list after throwing for a game-winning touchdown with 13 seconds to play in Louisville’s tougher-than-expected 32-25 win at Virginia on Saturday.

Yes, the Cards were playing with fire. No, Jackson wasn’t particularly sharp for much of the game — particularly at the start. He missed on some open looks that could’ve changed the complexion of this contest. He completed only four of his first 11 passes. Midway through the third quarter he threw an interception deep in his own territory, and only a big stand by his defense and a missed Virginia field goal kept it from coming back to burn him.

But when Louisville needed Jackson, he delivered, and that’s what sticks in the mind of Heisman voters who watched highlights of the game afterward or perused Twitter after his 29-yard game-winning strike to Jaylen Smith.

Oh, and his numbers. You can call it an off game if you want, but he still threw for 360 yards and four touchdowns while running for 90 yards. Put another way, he accounted for 450 yards. He’s averaging more yards than nine teams in the ACC, and 83 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Nobody ever said a Tweet is worth a thousand words, but it sounds good. And if that’s the case, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit did a nice job of setting the narrative of Jackson’s Saturday finish in motion with this eloquent Twitter turn:

There also were the words of Louisville coach Bobby Petrino.

“I have not seen anyone better,” he 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.”

Petrino said Jackson “was really calm” even after Louisville fell behind 17-7: “He is a great competitor. He was upset with himself on the early interception in the third quarter, but he came over and told the offense, ‘Hey, that’s on me. Here we go, let’s get back in the game.' He's an impressive young man."

After the game, Petrino embraced Jackson and said something to him. When asked what it was, the coach said, “I’m not sure what I said. I probably said, ‘I love you, man.’”

THE NUMBERS

- Jackson leads FBS in rushing touchdowns with 16
- Jackson leads FBS in yards per completion at 15.9
- Jackson leads FBS in points responsible for with 230, and points per game responsible for with 28.8.
- Jackson is second in the nation in total offense per game at 439.8
- Jackson is second in the nation in total touchdowns scored at 16
- Jackson is seventh in the nation in total rushing yards with 998
- Jackson is seventh in the nation in yards per passing attempt with 9.3
- Jackson is ninth in the nation in rushing yards per game at 124.5
- Jackson’s 38 TDs rushing and passing is the fifth-best single-season total in ACC history. He already was the first player in league history to run for 15 touchdowns and pass for 15 in the same season.
- Jackson has thrown for a touchdown in 11 straight games
- Jackson’s 22 TD passes this season rank ninth on the school’s single-season list

HEISMAN FALLOUT

There wasn’t much. Jackson was the 1-3 favorite to win college football’s coveted trophy going into the game at BovadaLV and he was the 1-3 favorite afterward. In his “College Football Blitz” column for Fansided, John Buhler said the game-winning drive only helped Jackson cement himself. “There is a month left in the college football season,” he wrote, “But he has won the Heisman Trophy.”

Jackson’s lead in USA Today’s survey of Heisman voters is 83-39 over Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, who engineered a win at Florida State on Saturday to keep the Tigers undefeated and pointed toward the College Football Playoff. Of 28 first-place votes cast, Jackson took 27. Watson had one. Writer Nicole Auerbach said that his main competition is himself.

THE COMPETITION

DESHAUN WATSON, Clemson. All he’s doing is winning. He engineered a game-winning drive of his own at Florida State: 5 plays, 75 yards (his game-winner against Louisville was 8 plays, 85 yards). Watson completed 27 of 43 passes for 378 yards and two touchdowns, though he did throw a pair of interceptions.

JABRILL PEPPERS, Michigan. The do-everything defensive back did it all once again for Michigan in a 32-23win over rival Michigan State. Peppers had seven tackles, four solo, a sack and another tackle for a loss. He also ran five times for 24 yards and a touchdown, caught one pass and returned a kickoff and a punt. Bovada lists him as co-No. 2 choice along with Watson.

JAKE BROWNING, Washington. The Huskies quarterback saw his odds drop from 10-1 to 20-1 after he threw for 186 yard and two touchdowns in a 31-24 win at No. 17 Utah.

J.T. BARRETT, Ohio State. The Buckeyes QB saw his odds drop from 12-1 to 33-1 after OSU’s 24-20 win over Northwestern. Barrett completed 21 of 32 passes for 223 yards and no touchdowns. He also ran 13 times for 71 yards. 

LEONARD FOURNETTE, LSU. Don’t forget about him. The Tigers running back has the ability to put up other-worldly numbers, and if he does it against the quality of teams LSU has coming up, he’ll be in the thick of things quickly.

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