Louisville football vs. Syracuse: First half grades

Sep 9, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 9, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville football is heading into halftime with the lead over the Syracuse Orange. Here are our first half grades for the Louisville Cardinals:

Louisville football has had an interesting half of football so far here in Syracuse. The Cardinals are up 35-21 at the half due to a great performance by sophomore quarterback Lamar Jackson. Syracuse has been able to hang around, it will be interesting to see how this one ends up.

This game should not be this close whatsoever. Louisville’s receivers have not played well enough for Lamar Jackson in this game. The Orange have been able to hang around because of the poor play from the wideouts. They have to work on catching the football and not fumbling.

The Cardinals have way too much talent at the receiver position for this to keep happening. A good halftime speech and “pep-talk” from head coach Bobby Petrino should give the Cardinals a wake-up call here before the second half.

It’s going to be important for Louisville to not get ahead of themselves and start looking towards next week. The Florida State game will come soon enough. but they need to find a way to start shutting the Orange down here in the second half.

Here are our first half grades from the Syracuse game:

Sep 9, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Syracuse Orange during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson: A

Lamar Jackson has come out of the gate firing for the Louisville Cardinals. If there was any doubt whether last week was a fluke or not, this game should let everyone know that he is for real. He has played great so far in this game.

The first play of the game was huge for Louisville as Jackson hit Senior wide receiver James Quick for a long touchdown. The 72 yard touchdown catch and run is Quick’s second touchdown in this young 2016 season.

Jackson has been everything for Louisville’s offense so far in this game. Making defenders miss and making great passes has kept Louisville in front. If there is something he can improve on, it’s his touch on shorter routes. He has an incredible arm on him, therefore he needs to be sure and make sure his passes are catchable.

At the end of the day, Jackson has been playing incredible, except for the bad pass before the half.

Hopefully he can continue his great play in the second half.

Sep 9, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) celebrates his touchdown run with teammates against the Syracuse Orange during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville’s offense: C

Other than a couple of nice catches from James Quick and Jamari Staples, Louisville has not looked very good on offense. Obviously, this isn’t taking into consideration if how great Lamar Jackson is playing.

They simply cannot continue to give the other team chances at getting the football back. Especially in a game where Louisville should be up by four or five touchdowns on the road. They cannot afford to keep dropping passes and fumbling the football.

Penalties have also given the Cardinals trouble so far in this one. There were a couple of 3 and shorts that turned into 3rd and longs because of stupid penalties. Louisville needs to make sure and clean some of those things up going into the second half.

In the second half, Louisville needs their receivers to start making more plays for Lamar Jackson. While he is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, they cannot continue to leave plays on the field for other teams to take advantage of.

Louisville needs to clean up their play fast if they want to beat Florida State next weekend.

Sep 9, 2016; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Ervin Philips (3) runs with the ball after a catch as Louisville Cardinals linebacker Keith Kelsey (55) defends during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Louisville’s Defense: C+

21 points in the first half is way more than the Cardinals should have given up here in the first half. While the offense did put them in some bad situations, they do need to do a better job of getting Syracuse off the field earlier in the drive.

Tackling was terrible in the first half. That may be a little harsh, but it’s not like Louisville is going up against Clemson in this matchup. There have been a few plays where the Cardinals have had opportunities to bring guys down, but they won’t take advantage of their chances.

Louisville’s defensive backs have to learn to wrap up , instead of just running into a guy. That’s how Syracuse has been able to keep moving the football down the field. The offense, other than Jackson, hasn’t been playing too well. Louisville’s defense needs to step it up.

A big opportunity is coming up for Syracuse here to start the second half, the Cardinals need to find a way to get the Orange off the field.

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