Corrected 10/23 9:50 am
On a postcard perfect Pigskin Saturday, Louisville won the toss, chose to receive.
Okay, not exactly. But close.
Lamar Jackson to Cole Hikutini for 8 yards.
Jackson to James Quick for 12 yards.
Jackson to Jaylen Smith for 16 yards.
Jackson, on a designed keeper up the middle. 36 yards. Touchdown.
Four plays. 72 yards. 1:33. 7-0.
The Wolfpack was toast.
On State’s first play from scrimmage, Trumaine Washington intercepted a pass.
One minute forty eight seconds later, redshirt freshman Blanton Creque kicked the first of his four FGs (in four attempts). 10-0.
Soon thereafter, Jackson hit Jaylen Smith 25 yards or so upfield, and the receiver scampered the rest of the 74 yards for the score. 17-0.
(It wasn’t even LJ’s most impressive — Read: mature — move of that three play drive. On first down, Louisville’s first true Heisman candidate rolled to his left. There was open field in front of him. Instead of tucking and running, he tossed the ball to Charles Standberry for a 9 yard gain. Just as the play was written up.)
At the end of the almost laughably dominant first quarter, the Cards led by two turntables and a microphone. (Sorry, apologies to Beck, I couldn’t help myself.) Two TDs and a FG.
State had three possessions in the segment after that Washington pick. Each ended Three & Out. For the quarter, the visitors, who last week came within a wide right of upsetting Clemson in Death Valley at the buzzer, had but a single wafer thin negative yard of total offense.
Louisville had 244. LJ was 8/12 through the air for 158 yards and a TD. Plus 56 yards rushing and a score on the ground.
By halftime, Creque had a couple more successful FGs. Jackson had a couple more TD passes, a three yarder to Hikutini and one in the air for 16 yards to Jamari Staples.
Jeremy Smith also bulldozed in a score from a yard out.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Todd Grantham’s D continued its total domination. Another State series ended three and out. Another ended with a Jonathan Greenard interception. Another, with a new QB calling signals, with a Stacy Thomas pick. Another with a blocked punt by Malik Williams.
So, to sum it up, by the halftime ceremonies, U of L led 44-0.
And, I will not monitor myself and will trot out a most applicable cliché here:
The game wasn’t that close.
Louisville had 390 yards in Total O. State had 54.
Lamar Jackson’s rushing TD and 3 passing TDs gave him 34 for the year. Which broke the Cardinal season record, previously held by Brian Brohm and Dave Ragone, who happened to be in the house getting his name on the stadium wall.
One difference. Jackson tied the record before halftime of U of L’s 7th game of the campaign.
* * * * *
The second half was for hanging out with your buddies on the Crunch Zone terrace, checking for dinner reservations, and generally reveling in the glorious afternoon.
Louisville’s O pulled back on the throttle, scoring a lone TD and a FG.
The D allowed State to pad its stats, giving up consecutive scoring drives of 98 and 95 yards.
The O Line did what this Achilles Heel O Line does, giving up too many sacks (three), too many TFLs (six) and leaving LJ exposed more often than he should be. Too many false starts.
* * * * *
But, there shall be no naysaying here.
U of L did what it needed to do. It underscored that the flat performance against Duke was what horse players might term a throw away.
54-13 looked great as ABC’s featured Noon game.
54-13 looked great on the TV scrawl during games the rest of the day.
Lamar Jackson’s four TDs and 431 yards of total offense kept the talking heads shaking their heads in amazement.
The Cards remained in the hunt for the Final Four.
Next: UVa in Charlottesville.
— Seedy K