Jackson’s huge day lifts No. 17 Louisville past UNC 47-35
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) Lamar Jackson shrugged off preseason questions about his chances of becoming only the second two-time Heisman Trophy winner, saying it wasn’t a focus when he won it last year, nor would it be this fall.
That approach is working just fine, too.
Jackson accounted for 525 total yards and six touchdowns to help No. 17 Louisville pull away late and beat North Carolina 47-35 on Saturday, giving him more than 1,000 yards of total offense in two games.
”Last night I thought about that, like, `Wow, this man here is special,”’ said receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, who had two TD catches from Jackson. ”He can do it all. He can throw, he can run, his football IQ is off the charts – everything. Really, just a once-in-a-lifetime type of quarterback.”
The junior threw for 393 yards and three scores while also running for 132 yards and three TDs. The last came on a spinning-through-tacklers 11-yard run with 3:06 left to punctuate a dominant fourth-quarter effort by the Cardinals (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Jackson had 485 total yards in last week’s win against Purdue, with 107 of those coming on the ground.
”When you’re in a situation, in a 1-on-1 with him, in open space, he’s going to win,” UNC coach Larry Fedora said. ”And there’s times when you’re in a 2-on-1 in open space he’s going to win. There aren’t a whole lot of guys that can do that.”
Junior Jaylen Smith had nine catches for a career-high 183 yards and a score for Louisville, which rolled to 705 yards.
The Cardinals trailed 28-27 entering the final quarter, but went ahead on Jackson’s 3-yard keeper with 13:50 left. Louisville’s defense then came up with two fourth-down stops – one at its own 1-yard line – to end promising drives by the Tar Heels (0-2, 0-1).
Louisville: There didn’t seem to be a lot of preseason buzz about Jackson’s Heisman chances. But this game was a reminder of how effortless Jackson can make things look, whether he was connecting downfield or weaving through UNC’s defense on another sticks-moving run.
UNC: The Tar Heels are 0-2 for the first time since 2010 and leave this game with a lot of questions. UNC’s shuffled offensive line lost starting center Cam Dillard in the third quarter and was already without injured starter Bentley Spain (hand injury). Meanwhile, the defense that was supposed to be improved thanks to more returning experience offered meager resistance to Jackson and the Cardinals.
”It’s shocking, it’s disappointing, it’s something we’ve definitely got to pick up on,” UNC linebacker Cayson Collins said.
WHAT HE SAID
UNC linebacker Andre Smith caused a midweek stir by saying the Tar Heels would ”just stop anything” Jackson tried to do.
”I thought about what they said,” Jackson said afterward.
For the record, Smith and Jackson – two Florida natives – spoke at midfield afterward and shared a brief hug.
UNC started redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt at quarterback over LSU graduate transfer Brandon Harris, who started last week against California. Surratt threw for 168 yards on 12-for-14 passing and two scores, but didn’t play after halftime after taking an early hit to his back that caused growing discomfort down his right leg.
Surratt spent much of the second half on an exercise bike – he said he thought he could’ve returned – while Harris looked much sharper (216 yards and a TD) than a week earlier.
Louisville’s 705 yards were the third most ever allowed by UNC and the most by an opponent in its Kenan Stadium home. Jackson’s 525 yards of total offense were the most by any UNC opponent.
RING IT UP
North Carolina held a halftime ceremony for its men’s basketball team for winning the 2017 NCAA championship. Several former Tar Heels players from title-winning squads presented the team with their championship rings, including former NBA great James Worthy – part of Dean Smith’s first title winner in 1982 – to former Smith assistant and current Hall of Fame head coach Roy Williams.
Louisville: The Cardinals have a huge Atlantic Division game next weekend, hosting third-ranked and reigning national champion Clemson.
UNC: The Tar Heels travel to Old Dominion from Conference USA.
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