LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - UofL football fans were electrified by the performance of freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson in the Cards 31-24 loss to #6 Auburn on Saturday.
Jackson, who played high school football last season at Boynton Beach High School in Boynton Beach, Florida, threw for 100 yards and rushed for 106 and a touchdown in his college debut. He was named the Player of the Game by CBS, despite being on the losing team. He is only the fifth UofL player to rush for 100 yards against a top 10 opponent, and is just the third Cards quarterback to ever rush for 100 yards in a game. The record, which could be in danger, is 162 yards by Jim Wagoner against Drake in 1974.
He led the Cards to three touchdowns and a field goal in four second half drives. Jackson did all that after throwing an interception on a trick play on the first play of the game. Ironically, current Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater also threw an interception on his first pass as a Card.
" Yeah, they were telling me that on the sideline," Jackson said. "That didn't really matter to me because I don't like to throw interceptions. I hoped that I could have gotten it back sooner."
On Saturday Jackson will try to do something Bridgewater did not. Win his first start at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Teddy got the call against Marshall in 2011, a 17-13 UofL loss. Bridgewater finished 20-29 for 221 yards, with a touchdown pass, an interception, and a touchdown run. Jackson gets his shot as the Cards host Houston this Saturday at 12 p.m.
So how impressive was Jackson's debut? For comparison sake, Michael Vick, as a redshirt freshman in 1999, was 4-6 passing for 110 yards and rushed for 54 yards on four carries, with three touchdowns, in his first start. Virginia Tech beat James Madison 47-0. Vick injured his ankle in the second quarter, and did not play in the second half.
Cam Newton was 3-4 for 25 yards in his college debut in 2007. He was Tim Tebow's backup at Florida in a win over Western Kentucky.
The UofL coaches were impressed with Jackson from day one and his opening game performance only increased their confidence in him. "Well we came back and evaluated the film and you know the film just said, in the second half of the game, we had four possessions, we scored three touchdowns, got a field goal, so that's the hot hand, you know, that we have right now," Cards offensive coordinator Garrick McGee said.
As for Jackson, he is keeping his head down and focusing on football as his new found celebrity continues to grow. "People are saying I'm famous, but I really didn't prove anything to myself, I'm very hard on myself, Jackson said after practice on Tuesday.