LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) In a week full of outside distractions, No. 17 Louisville was focused on the field with overwhelming results.
Lamar Jackson had a short but productive day, throwing for 249 yards and three touchdowns in just over a half and the Cardinals (4-1) routed Murray State 55-10 on Saturday.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner, who had just one play after halftime, added 100 yards rushing and a TD on seven carries. He’s now just 13 yards short of becoming the seventh player in Atlantic Coast Conference history to reach 10,000 total career yards.
”He’s a freak of nature, honestly,” said redshirt freshman wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, who caught two of Jackson’s touchdown passes. ”He’s something I’ve never seen before. I’m just blessed playing with him.”
Jawon Pass stepped in after Jackson left, throwing for 115 yards and one touchdown and added another TD on the ground with 29 seconds left in the game. The two completed passes to 14 separate players as the Cardinals totaled 364 yards through the air. Louisville rolled up 312 yards on the ground.
The Cardinals led 35-3 at halftime as they held the Racers (1-4) to eight rushing yards in the first half. The Racers’ only touchdown came after Pass fumbled the snap on the first play in the third quarter and defensive back Jason Johnson recovered and returned it 23 yards for the score.
At halftime, the Louisville men’s basketball team received a more than 90-second standing ovation from the crowd of 47,826 at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The school announced David Padgett as the team’s interim coach on Friday. The school has acknowledged its involvement in a federal investigation and placed head basketball coach Rick Pitino on unpaid administrative leave.
”It’s been a hard week and heartbreaking for our university and our city,” coach Bobby Petrino said. ”But one of the things we wanted to do as a team was just really focus, stay together, hopefully play well and give some inspiration to the fans and the city of Louisville.”
Murray State: The Ohio Valley Conference school was easily outclassed by the Cardinals. After gaining just 88 yards in a loss to Austin Peay last week, the Racers got only 80 against Louisville.
Louisville: As the game became a blowout early, the Cardinals got to spread the ball around. In all, 14 receivers caught a pass, with 10 hauling in multiple catches. Freshman Corey Reed posted a team-high 94 yards on his four catches.
”It was great to get a lot of players in today,” Petrino said. ”That’s what we really wanted to do. We wanted to make sure we got ahead so we could let guys play.”
The Cardinals were again without starting cornerback Jaire Alexander, who suffered a knee injury in the season opener against Purdue. After Saturday’s game, Petrino said Alexander practiced during the week.
”It’s really day-by-day, but we’re getting a lot closer,” the coach said.
The Cardinals dominated on both sides of the ball Saturday. That should be enough to keep them in their current position if not advance slightly.
Murray State: The Racers return to OVC play and travel to Tennessee-Martin next Saturday.
Louisville: The Cardinals have a short week coming up and will travel to North Carolina State on Thursday night.
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