Louisville dominated Syracuse with a breathtaking offensive show. What are the 5 Things That Matter about the Cardinal blowout win?
Lamar Jackson is pretty good at playing college football.
He was my preseason sleeper to win the Heisman, and now the stage is set to be front and center in the race with the showdown against Florida State up next.
Lamar Jackson rolled against Charlotte with 286 passing yards and six touchdowns, and 119 yards and two scores on the ground accounting for eight touchdowns in the first half.
Against Syracuse, he ripped it up against throwing for 411 yards and a score – with a pick – and running for 199 yards and four touchdowns. He had over 200 yards but got dropped for a loss, but it doesn’t matter. He’s the national star of the season so far, but will his speed and playmaking ability be enough to get by the lightning fast Florida State defense? He’s going to be the marquee name now with the hype about to build up all week.
Eric Dungey will be a factor.
It was a tough night to stand out as a quarterback with Jackson ripping it up on the other side, but Dungey showed the poise, the arm, and the moxie to throw for 255 yards and three touchdowns with a brilliant two-play scoring drive helped by an even more impressive touchdown catch from Amba Etta-Tawo. The offense will work with a little more time under Dino Babers, and the 6-3, 207-pound Dungey, just a sophomore, will be a statistical superstar. There will be better days and a whole lot of stats to come.
Lamar had some help, too.
Jackson is the conductor of the orchestra, but he also made a whole lot of plays getting the ball to his playmakers in places they could do something with it. Jamari Staples and James Quick each averaged over 27 yards per catch and came up with over 100 yards, and as a team, the Cardinals averaged over 20 yards per grabs. Jackson was the rushing star – beyond the stats, he stopped the Orange momentum in the second half with a huge first down dash – but Brandon Radcliff ran for 155 yards and a score on just nine carries, while the team averaged over ten yards per carry.
This was a breathtaking offensive performance all the way around for a team that’ll be among the statistical stars all season long – or at least after the next few weeks. More on that in a moment.
Okay … stay with this.
Louisville put up 844 yards of total offense and 62 points in a blowout win, but as crazy as it might seem now, Syracuse was still in this with ten minutes to play. The offense proved it could strike quickly, and it was only down 20. Yeah, “only,” since one quick touchdown would’ve change the momentum back around in a hurry considering the Cardinals ended up turning it over three times.
One Orange turnover later, and the Cardinals went on run of 20 unanswered points to make it a laugher. But for three quarters, Syracuse was still around. Give credit for Louisville for dropping the hammer in the fourth, but soon, when the offense is really humming, the Orange should be built to never be out of any game.
What Does This All REALLY Mean?
Yeah, this has all been fun scoring 132 points in two games, but Louisville’s playtime is over. Getting an extra week to prepare for Florida State should help, but nothing might be able to properly prepare the Cardinals for one of the nation’s most talented teams.
It’s a home game that’ll be the really big thing to kickoff a weekend of really big things, and after facing Marshall, then it’s off to Clemson. With the way the Cardinals have played so far, outside of turnovers and a few kicking questions, they couldn’t be more ready.
Louisville’s going to be 62-point, 800+ yard good against a lot of teams – Syracuse has to just blow this off. Beat South Florida, and handle the Connecticut defense on the road, and the Orange will be 3-1 before facing Notre Dame. Overall the schedule isn’t all that bad until November, but the Orange can’t get down. There’s still a chance at a great year – the way this loss happened won’t really matter.