Lamar Jackson leads Louisville in 45-3 rout of Samford
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Freshman Lamar Jackson has wrestled away the Louisville quarterback job again, and this time it looks to be for good.
Jackson finished with 184 yards rushing, a school-record for a quarterback, in a 45-3 rout of Samford on Saturday night. He threw one touchdown pass and ran for two more scores in a performance Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said would end the Cardinals shuffling rotation of signal callers.
''I think we've settled on Lamar,'' Petrino said with a smile after the game.
Jackson scored on keepers of 14 and 13 yards in the first six minutes of the game. His 73-yard run set up Brandon Radcliff's 2-yard touchdown run to make it 21-0.
''He's real explosive,'' Petrino said. ''He can go the distance when he gets the chance.''
Jackson was 15 of 22 for 212 yards passing, including a 36-yard touchdown to James Quick. Jackson said focusing on the basics after a poor effort in his only start was key.
''Coach told me, ''No turnovers, don't look for the big play,'' Jackson said. ''Just go through your progressions. A lot of times I would try to go deep (in other games). I had to get back to fundamentals.''
Louisville had started a different quarterback in each of its first three games, the only team in the country to do so. Jackson started Louisville's second game after rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown against Auburn in relief of Reggie Bonnafon.
Louisville (1-3) used two early turnovers to set up scores. Cornerback Trumaine Washington forced a fumble on the second play from scrimmage and Jackson ran for a score two plays later. Washington then intercepted a Michael Eubank pass less than a minute later to spark an 80-yard drive that put the Cardinals up 14-0.
Anthony Pistelli kicked a 32-yard field goal for Samford (2-2).
The Football Championship Subdivision member proved welcome relief from Louisville's tough early-season schedule that included close losses to then-No. 6 Auburn, Houston, and No. 11 Clemson that left the Cardinals 0-3 for the first time since 1984.
''When you play up a level you've got to survive the initial surge,'' Samford coach Chris Hatcher said. ''You find yourself (down) 14-0 before the game hardly even starts and that's a hard mountain to climb.''
Louisville, which entered averaging 109 yards per game on the ground, finished with 288 yards rushing.
Quick played for the first time since injuring an ankle in the Auburn opener. He led Louisville receivers with three catches and 69 yards as 12 Cardinals caught passes.
John Wallace kicked a 50-yard field goal to give Louisville a 24-3 lead with 6:15 left in the first half.
Jackson broke the previous quarterback rushing mark set by Jim Wagoner's 162 yards in 1974. But an interception on the first play of the second quarter, and a fumble showed it wasn't a perfect night for Jackson.
Bonnafon's 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Micky Crum in the final minute before halftime gave Louisville a 31-3 lead. Bonnafon also threw an interception, passing for 62 yards in six attempts that were interspersed with Jackson.
But Bonnafon will now likely be pushed into other positions alongside Jackson. The sophomore saw his first action at running back, rushing for 26 yards on six carries.
''I like Reggie being on the field,'' Petrino said. ''When they're on the field together, we're a faster football team.''
Eubank and Devlin Hodges combined for 17 of 30 for 170 yards passing with three interceptions for Samford.
The Cardinals extended their nation-leading streak to 17 games with an interception.
AP College Football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org