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The Campus Read-Option: Lamar Jackson Has Reached Another Level

Last season, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson  was still something of a novelty heading into the fifth game of his sophomore campaign. He had a very good freshman season the year prior, showing some tantalizing potential in throwing for 1,840 yards and 12 touchdowns, while adding 960 yards and an additional 11 scores on the ground. 

But no one could possibly have foreseen the brilliance that would soon unfold.

Against Charlotte and Syracuse in the Cardinals first two games last year, Jackson put up numbers and produced video-game-type highlights that drew gasps. But let’s be real, he was playing Charlotte and Syracuse! 

Most folks applauded and appreciated the performances, but they figured that the young QB who was showing flashes of a young Mike Vick would come crashing back to earth in Louisville’s third game against No. 2 Florida State.

Jackson immediately went from ashy to classy on the national radar against the Seminoles, earning a place in the early season Heisman discussion after administering a supreme, surprising 63-20 beatdown. 

Lamar Jackson Best Plays vs. FSU: Cardinals QB Makes Heisman Statement

Lamar Jackson scored 5 more touchdowns against Florida State, giving him 18 TDs just 3 games into the season. Watch all of his best moves in #10 Louisville’s 63-20 blowout win over the #2 Seminoles.

It was almost as if Florida State was Red in Friday, asking him for their bike back. In true Debo fashion, Jackson’s performance screamed, “What bike???“, as he completed 65% of his passes for 216 yards and one touchdown while also running for 146 yards and four more scores.

The performance was an eye-opener, to say the least. But the true test would come two weeks later against then-No. 5 Clemson, which was fresh off of taking Alabama to the limit the year before in the national championship game.

“If he’s Superman,” Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney told his team regarding Jackson, “we’re going to be the Kryptonite.”

Well that was some bootleg, Canal Street knockoff Kryptonite, because Jackson ate the Tigers up like Huell Babineaux getting loose at Golden Corral! 

In one of the best regular season college football games in recent memory, Louisville lost 42-36, but Jackson left no further doubts that he was the Real Deal Holyfield. Clemson led 28-10 at halftime. And shortly thereafter, Jackson basically said, “Time for some action!

Louisville proceeded to score on five straight possessions and take a 36-28 lead with less than eight minutes remaining, before Deshaun Watson made his final statement of, “All I do is win, win, win no matter what!

Louisville vs. Clemson Extended Football Highlights (2016)

Louisville vs. Clemson: Relive all of the excitement from the #5 Clemson Tigers’ huge 42-36 win over the #3 Louisville Cardinals. Deshaun Watson came through for the Tigers with 397 total yards and 5 passing touchdowns and the defense closed the game with a 4th down stop with less than one minute left to play in the game.

Jackson threw for 295 yards and a touchdown and ran for 162 yards and two more scores, cementing himself as the most dynamic and electric player in the country.

Fast forward to this year, and the Louisville QB has picked up right where he left off. Actually, and as crazy as this sounds, he’s actually playing a little bit better. 

He has a ridiculous quarterback rating of 160.3 right now. Against Purdue and North Carolina, he passed for 373 and 398 yards respectively, with a combined five touchdown passes and no interceptions. He also rushed for a collective 239 yards and three touchdowns in those first two games.

And as absurd as it sounds, people are still questioning how good he really is

On Saturday night, he’ll have the college football stage all to himself to prove it once again when the No. 14 Cardinals meet up with the No. 3 Tigers, the defending national champions, once again. 

With a relatively weak slate of games coming up this weekend, this one should more than satiate your thirst for some elite college gridiron action. The last three times they’ve played one another, Clemson walked away victorious. But each of those games came down to the final play and were decided by six points or less.

Lamar Jackson: 525 Total Yards, 6 TDR vs UNC

Lamar Jackson amassed 525 total yards and was responsible for 6 touchdowns in Louisville’s 47-35 win over North Carolina. Jackson was dynamic all day long in Chapel Hill, passing for 393 yards and rushing for 132 yards.

Jackson walks into this game with more swag than Youngblood Priest, kicking more hind parts than Black Belt Jones! He’s led the Cardinals to 41 points and 615 yards per game against two power conference defenses and is averaging 505 yards per game, including 385.5 through the air while connecting on 65% of his passes. His favorite target is wide receiver Jaylen Smith, who has 17 receptions for 300 yards.

But Clemson’s defense is about as hardcore as Tat Lawson wanting his money back.  They sacked Auburn’s Jarrett Stidham 11 times last Saturday. ELEBEN!!! 

And that front seven is nastier than Jamie and Cersei Lannister doing the horizontal humpty dance!  The defensive front, anchored by All-America candidates Christian Wilkins and Dexter Lawrence on the interior, and Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell coming off the edge, may be the best in the country. 

They attack you on defense while limiting big plays. In two games thus far, they’ve only given up one gain of more than 20 yards. Bryant alone has four sacks, which is more than 59 other FBS teams can claim as an entire defensive unit. The Tigers rank second nationally in total defense and sacks. And they’re in the Top 10 in many other defensive categories as well. 

Clemson has not given up a touchdown yet. Jackson and the Louisville offense score them like Jordan Belfort throwing away fun coupons.

Auburn vs. Clemson Football Highlights (2017)

Auburn vs. Clemson: Behind 11 sacks, Clemson pulls out a hard-fought 14-6 victory over Auburn and improves to 2-0 on the season. Tigers QB Kelly Bryant ran for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

This one has the potential to be an instant classic. Believe it or not, Jackson has been getting his Colonel Steve Austin on – he’s bigger, stronger and better than he was before. 

Watch close, and you’ll see him no longer relying more heavily on his speed and athleticism. He’s barking audibles and changing protection schemes at the line of scrimmage. He’s throwing to his hot reads, working through his progressions while standing tall in the pocket and spraying balls out of bounds when things break down as opposed to running around like Biscuit making a break for the gun line

He’s put on muscle, is working more under-center in head coach Bobby Petrino’s pro-style offense and distributes the ball all over the field. But make no mistake about it, when he finds space in the open field to run, that’s when the paradigm shifts.

After getting smoked by Jackson, North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora said, “They say the ceiling is the roof around here. Well, Lamar has no ceiling, and he has no roof.”

Even amid the greatest of expectations, the guy manages to shock and amaze. 

Best of Lamar Jackson vs. Purdue (2017)

Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson shined in his first game of 2017, running and throwing for 485 total yards in a 35-28 win over Purdue Saturday night. These are some of the reigning Heisman-winner’s best moments against the Boilermakers.

Both teams will be tested in ways they haven’t yet in this early season. Saturday night, it’s gonna be on like hot cheddar popcorn!

I don’t know about you, but I’m staring at the clock right now, counting down the hours, singing, “Don’t make me wait!!!

A new and improved Lamar Jackson going up against Clemson’s defense? Maaaaan-oh-Manischewitz!!!! This one is not to be missed.

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