No. 5 Louisville, Jackson face ACC's best defense at BC
BOSTON (AP) Louisville will eventually need some help to get back into the College Football Playoff conversation.
In the meantime, the fifth-ranked Cardinals (7-1, 5-1 ACC) would help themselves out a lot by showing the committee they are still the dominant offense they were earlier this season.
Saturday's matchup with Boston College (4-4, 1-4), which has the conference's top-ranked defense, would go a long way toward that.
Despite needing a late touchdown to avoid an upset at Virginia last week, Louisville still has the nation's top-ranked offense, scoring 50 points per game. Heisman Trophy candidate Lamar Jackson is also showing no signs of slacking off, with 38 total touchdowns on the season.
But running back Brandon Radcliff said one thing last week taught them is that no team is going to lay down for them.
''We hear a lot of defenses they say are aggressive or whatnot, but we take everybody the same,'' he said. ''We can't take one opponent lightly because we could be in a dogfight in a minute.''
The Cardinals have won the last three meetings with the Eagles, but have split the four meetings at BC's Alumni Stadium. A Cardinals victory would mark the first time Louisville has started 8-1 since 2013.
In last year's meeting, which Louisville won 17-14, Boston College's defense was able to hold Jackson to just 15 yards on 14 carries and one rushing touchdown. It was the Cardinals defense that came up big, scoring off a 45-yard fumble return.
Boston College coach Steve Addazio said he expects Jackson to be a lot more difficult to contain this year, but his team can't just focus on containing the quarterback.
''I think that's the problem for everybody right now,'' Addazio said. ''You have to have your focus on him, but when you do that, you're in trouble all over the field.''
Here are some other things to watch for on Saturday:
Addazio said the biggest thing that came out Boston College breaking its ACC drought at N.C. State last week - the Eagles' first conference win since 2014 - was that his young team gained some much-needed confidence.
''It's been hard and frustrating as we develop this team, but I love this team and believe in this team completely,'' Addazio said. ''While that's one game, and while we know what we have ahead of us here, we also know that what we see is real and it validates.''
The Eagles will need a big effort from defensive end Harold Landry if they are going to slow down the Cardinals attack. Last week's co-ACC defensive player of the week is putting up some of the best numbers of his career this season. He currently is tied for the national lead for sacks with nine, and also is tied for the NCAA lead with five forced fumbles. He has recorded 29 tackles on the year and 11 tackles for a loss.
Jackson enters the game with 3,520 yards of total offense on the season to go with 38 total touchdowns (22 passing, 16 rushing). He is 4 yards short of becoming the first quarterback in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
The Cardinals have scored at least 50 points five times in 2016. BC's defense has been stout, but has let a few games get away. The Eagles lost 49-0 at Virginia Tech in September and 56-10 to Clemson last month.
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