In a game between teams that didn't perform as well as they'd hoped in Week 1, the University of Louisville takes a significant step forward in competition today at North Carolina's Kenan Memorial Stadium.
In ACC openers, the Cardinals are 2-1 overall, including a 1-0 mark on the street after last season's 62-28 triumph over Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. Dazz Newsome's 54-yard catch-and-run was the first play from scrimmage and a step in the right direction, but the team finished one chunk play short of Fedora's challenge. Louisville coach Bobby Petrino believes this can be rather simply addressed.
Instead, miscommunications, blown coverages and frustration reigned supreme against a man hell-bent on taking advantage of them. Louisville lost 22 fumbles in 2016 and was not any better after an offseason of work while losing three against Purdue. On the first offensive play of the game, Surratt shovel passed the ball to Newsome, who ran it 54 yards, setting up the Tar Heels' first score of the game. In Louisville's 35-28 win over Purdue, Jackson threw for 378 yards and two touchdown scores, and ran for 107 yards. Jackson faced six such defenses last season, and averaged 322.8 yards passing and 130.5 yards rushing in those games.
Watching Jackson against the North Carolina defense was like watching a video game user on rookie.
Smith, who did not meet with the media after the game, at least tried to figure out a way to stop Jackson.
Those detractors should consider what happened on Saturday, in Louisville's 47-35 win over North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Jackson's way of saying, "I'm back".
Can we talk about everything going on here? "We've just got to minimize them". I think we handled their run game pretty well. We have everything solidified with that. "Based on Saturday what we saw whether that was enough to make a change, I don't know yet". "Hey, you've got two quarterbacks, that's a great thing". For an offense that has concerns at quarterback, this definitely raises some troubling questions. He went with LSU graduate transfer Brandon Harris against Cal but leaned more on redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt as the game wore on. It will be a way for the defense - which sacked Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham 11 times Saturday - to line up against perhaps the nation's best quarterback and certainly a Heisman contender again at this point.
Indeed, Clemson did have a front-row view to Jackson's talents previous year when he came to Death Valley and lit up the Tigers' marquee defense inside of Memorial Stadium's wild environment.
"We'll see how they handle this week in practice". "You just can't do that".
Sophomore Cam Lindley rocketed in a shot from 30 yards out in the 53rd minute of the game to give North Carolina a 2-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Panthers. One key will be to contain Jackson in the pocket.
What might have National Football League scouts most intrigued, however, were the flashes of progress Jackson showed as a pocket passer Saturday. Smith's nine receptions totaled 183 yards and a touchdown.