BOZICH | Louisville, Lamar Jackson rally for 35-28 win over Purdue
Big games by quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Louisville defense helped Louisville rally in the fourth quarter to defeat Purdue, 35-28, Saturday night in Indianapolis.
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WDRB) — Five Takeaways From Louisville’s come-from-behind, 35-28, win over Purdue in Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night.
*Lamar Jackson still has it. It wasn’t his flashiest game or his most productive. He didn’t soar over any defenders or score a touchdown. No Heisman Trophy video moment.
But Jackson was still the best player on the field. He threw the ball with poise and precision. Two of his finest throws were to freshman wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick on the drive that bumped Louisville ahead, 32-28, with 9:01 to play. It was a 20-yard strike to Fitzpatrick for the go-ahead touchdown.
Jackson ran for 107 yards (on 21 carries) and completed 30 of 46 throws for 378 yards and two scores without throwing an interception.
That’s close to 500 yards of total offense, terrific numbers for most quarterbacks but business as usual for Jackson.
Jackson did solid job of finding multiple receivers. Four guys had at least four catches, led by Jaylen Smith, who finished with 117 yards on eight receptions.
But if the plan this season was to reduce Jackson’s responsibilities running the football, that plan was not in effect Saturday night. Jackson had 21 of Louisville's 32 rushing attempt.
Reggie Bonnafon finished with 33 yards on six rushes while Jeremy Smith had only eight yards on five carries and did not have an attempt in the second half after fumbling near the goal line.
Louisville’s defense delivered three interceptions, allowing Jackson to direct the Cards to their 1-0 start.
2. Penalties. Fumbles. Penalties. Fumbles. Penalties. Fumbles.
Purdue played terrific but the Boilermakers had assistance from the Cardinals. A string of false starts. Defensive offsides. Penalties that will have U of L coach Bobby Petrino howling when he watches the video.
Then there were the fumbles. One by Lamar Jackson. Another by Jeremy Smith. Those two were in the red zone. Add another by receiver Jaylen Smith.
There were penalties. Lots and lots of penalties. Make it 16 flags for 110 yards.
On a night when Louisville outgained Purdue by 180 yards the Cards were unable to roll to a victory because of the penalties and turnover.
3. The Cards’ costliest play of the didn’t result in points for the Boilermakers. It resulted in a knee injury for Jaire Alexander, Louisville’s all-American cornerback.
Instead of allowing a blocked field goal to roll to a stop, Alexander thought he would surprise Purdue by scooping the football and taking off.
Didn’t work. Not at all. Alexander was tackled after a short run and then stayed on the ground clutching his knee. He left with the assistance of trainers and missed the second half. No official word on the injury.
4. They say it is supposed to be a tossup between Purdue and Illinois for the worst team in the Big Ten West. Before you flip the coin, I’ll already make the call. Give me the Boilermakers ahead of the Illini. Jeff Brohm did solid work with his team, which was a 25-point underdog.
Illinois huffed and puffed before subduing Ball State. The Boilermakers went toe-to-toe with Louisville until quarterback David Blaugh lobbed two ugly interceptions, one for a 61-yard touchdown return by U of L linebacker Stacy Thomas.
Remember this about Blaugh. He missed more than two weeks of serious practice with a bruise right (throwing shoulder). He was questionable to play and did not start.
If he eliminates the macho throws, Blaugh has a chance to have a solid year. But there's no guarantee. He threw 21 interceptions last season.
5. Saturday’s scoreboard shows a favorable scoreboard ahead of the Cardinals. They visit North Carolina next Saturday and the Tar Heels lost a home game to California, 35-30, Saturday.
Then comes the home opener with Clemson Sept. 16. That won’t be easy. Never is playing the Tigers, especially coming off a national championship season.
After that, two of the Cards’ next three opponents also lost Saturday — Kent State (blasted by Clemson) and North Carolina State (by South Carolina).
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