Petrino did not name a starter prior to Saturday's opener against No. 6 Auburn in Atlanta but gave Jackson the bulk of the snaps over more experienced favorites Will Gardner, Reggie Bonnafon and Kyle Bolin. Jackson was intercepted in his first attempt but finished 9 of 20 passing for 100 yards and led Cardinal rushers with 106 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.
Jackson replaced starter Reggie Bonnafon for good in the second quarter and led the Cardinals back from a 24-point deficit before they lost 31-24. Petrino said Monday that Jackson's performance ''really gave us a lift'' while naming the Florida native his starter for Saturday's matchup against Houston.