Louisville dominated Charlotte 70-14 with a stellar performance from Lamar Jackson. What are the 5 things that matter in the big-time opening day performance?
– Welcome to Lamar Jackson.
The sophomore Cardinal quarterback was considered a bit of a Heisman sleeper coming into the season, but he’s wide awake in the race now with a brilliant performance. It didn’t matter if he was pressured, had time, or had to do something big on the move – he put up a huge day doing everything right.
He was involved in eight first half touchdowns completing 17-of-23 passes on the day for 286 yards and six touchdowns, and ran 11 times for a team-high 119 yards and two touchdowns.
Unstoppable throughout the first half, Jackson and the Cardinals ended up taking it easy after he made plays after play after play on the way to a school record of eight total scores – the previous record was six. He was brilliant in his perfect performance, setting the table for the date with Syracuse up next in the ACC opener before hosting Florida State.
And now, everyone will be watching.
– The Cardinal defense was at it, too.
Charlotte wasn’t able to get anything going in the first half to slow down the Louisville momentum, and only managed one offensive score on a 24-yard Austin Duke catch in the third quarter. The D only came up with four sacks, but it stuffed Kalif Phillips and the 49er running game allowing just 48 yards overall. There wasn’t any room to move.
– It’s hard to score when you don’t have the ball.
How focused were the Cardinals against the veteran 49ers? The defense allowed them to convert a fourth down play, but that was it. Charlotte didn’t convert any of its 13 third down chances being put in bad plays and long tries time and again. Four sacks were a part of it for UofL, but it was a locked in effort from the start.
– It wasn’t all perfect for either side.
Charlotte had a nightmare of a day on both sides of the ball, and it didn’t help itself with 13 penalties for 118 yards and a turnover. Louisville might have been energized and sharp when it came to getting up big, but it turned the ball over three times and committed ten penalties of its own. When you get up 56-0 in the first half, you can do that.
– What Does This All REALLY Mean?
It’s hard to make that big a statement against Charlotte, but everyone wants to come out sharp – obviously – and, forgetting the turnovers and penalties, Louisville couldn’t have had a more perfect showing with the type of confidence-booster that shows what’s possible.
The Cardinal O line might have to be stronger after starting out shaky, but it got the job done when it had to. Having a quarterback like Jackson allows everything else to work out just fine.
Again, relax – it was just Charlotte – but that’s a veteran 49er team that got destroyed from the opening drive. Louisville looked the part – that’s what you’re supposed to do in an opening game at home against Charlotte.