Petrino finds the future in loss to Auburn

Bobby Petrino leads his University of Louisville football team during Card March at the Georgia Dome.
Bobby Petrino leads his University of Louisville football team during Card March at the Georgia Dome.

Safe to say the University of Louisville has found a quarterback, and he appears to live up to all the ballyhoo, the rumors coming out of fall football camp. So good in fact that Bobby Petrino had him on the field for the first play from scrimmage.

Cat-like instincts, dazzling speed, football savvy, standing tall, delivering the ball, moving the offense with authority. Louisville may have lost the game, but the future appears to be very bright with Lamar Jackson calling signals.

Jackson wouldn’t line up under center at the start. That honor went to Reggie Bonnafon but the ball was snapped to Jackson, Petrino wanting his young freshman to get going early. Bad snap, forcing Jackson to run for his life, throw the ball into a crowd of Auburn defenders.

Jackson’s first pass attempt at UofL an interception, Auburn taking full advantage, scoring five plays later. Auburn would, in fact, race out to a 17-0 advantage in the first half with the young freshman relegated to the sideline.

He would reappear early in the third quarter after UofL had fallen behind 24-0 with a freshman performance that won’t soon be forgotten, completing nine of 20 passes for 100 yards and run for 106 yards himself, averaging 6.6 yards per carry.

Auburn couldn’t handle Jackson once he found his rhythm, moving the offense almost at will during the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to the final score of 31-24. Fortunately for Auburn, the clock ran out. Few people in the crowd of 73,000-plus at the Georgia Dome believed Auburn could have withstood another drive.

Jackson is one of those quarterbacks who makes everyone around him better. Just ask Brandon Radcliff who was struggling in the first half, but started churning out the yardage when Jackson returned, accumulating most of his 76 yards in the second half.

UofL’s offensive linemen also looked better after Jackson returned, having struggled to give Bonnafon any daylight. Jackson creating most of his own, running the ball laterally and vertically while eluding the persistent Auburn defenders.

So that was what Bobby Petrino was so excited about with Lamar Jackson. He’s gotta be having some second thoughts about not getting Jackson back in the game earlier. But the coach should be confident that he has the quarterback who can take his offense to the next level.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

One thought on “Petrino finds the future in loss to Auburn

  • September 10, 2015 at 8:49 am

    Nice read.

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