The Charlotte 49ers opened their fourth season in FBS against No. 19 Louisville Thursday night. They were over matched from the very beginning. Louisville did what it was supposed to do against a lesser opponent by beating the 49ers 70 – 7.
Standout sophomore quarterback, Lamar Jackson, showed why he could be a dark horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Jackson accounted for eight touchdowns, a Louisville school record, and 405 total yards. All of his numbers came in only one half as the Cardinals led 56 – 0 at halftime.
Jackson started the game getting pressured, but just like much of last season, used his incredible speed to elude the defense. He scored from 36 yards out for the Cardinals’ first score of the season. He would go on to rush 11 times for 119 yards.
There is no denying the running ability of Jackson, however, the improvement in his passing game is what most people wanted to see this season. Based on 17 -23 passing for 286 yards and 8 touchdowns, it looks as if he has definitely improved.
He showed great touch on getting the ball to not only his receivers, but also to his running backs. Running backs Brandon Radcliff, Jeremy Smith, and L.J. Scott all turned nice screen passes into touchdowns.
Perhaps the best play of the first half came with just under three minutes remaining when he found James Quick in the back of the end zone for a 36 yard touchdown. The throw was place perfectly where only Quick could get the ball. It was originally ruled out of bounds, but overturned after an extensive review showed he had possession of the ball with his feet in bounds.
Cole Hikutini finished the first half scoring by catching a one yard touchdown pass from Jackson with five seconds remaining to make the score 56 – 0.
The Louisville defense held the 49ers to 208 yards and only 12 first downs.
Louisville travels to Syracuse next Friday night for their next game.