LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Lamar Jackson ran for four touchdowns and threw for another as No. 10 Louisville poured it on in a 63-20 victory over No. 2 Florida State on Saturday in what was billed as an ACC showdown game.
There was no showdown at all, as the Cardinals showed off their talent with Jackson leading the way. The quarterback ran for 146 yards and four TD and passed for 216 yards and a score. The defense chipped in with nine sacks.
The Cardinals (3-0, 2-0 ACC) lost back-to-back halftime leads to the Seminoles in the past, but they left no doubt in topping 60 points for the third straight game. The Seminoles (2-1, 0-1) suffered one of the worst losses in school history.
Jeremy Smith ran for two TDs for the Cardinals, but Jackson was nearly unstoppable in piling up 362 yards of offense. He also added to his collection of highlights as he faked one defender and spun off another en route to his final TD run of 47 yards. He has 18 TDs in three games.
Louisville’s defense held FSU to 284 yards and forced two turnovers. The Seminoles’ only bright spot was 10 straight points to get within 14-10 before Jackson and took over.
Jaire Alexander contributed a 69-yard punt return for a TD and a fumble recovery leading to another Louisville score. Brandon Radcliff rushed for 118 yards and a score as Louisville won its biggest ACC before national TV audience.
Louisville paid tribute to late heavyweight champion and hometown hero Muhammad Ali in numerous ways. The Cardinals’ red chrome helmets featured a white butterfly sticker with “Ali” in the middle; The Greatest’s daughter, Laila, was ESPN’s celebrity picker; and the school presented Ali’s with a framed No. 75 jersey honoring his community service initiative.
Florida State: The Seminoles were never in the game after their first TD and figure to fall hard in which they hoped to establish themselves as division favorites and national contenders.
Louisville: This was the win the program always sought, and now it’s a matter of whether the Cardinals crack the top five and position themselves to contend for a playoff spot they’ve dreamed of.
Florida State: The Seminoles seemed out of it on both sides of the ball but especially defensively, possibly due to the absence of injured defensive back Derwin James. Without him available as a spy against, FSU could do nothing to even contain Jackson. Dalvin Cook wasn’t a factor in rushing for 54 yards on 16 carries.
Louisville: The Cardinals seized their moment on the national stage by stepping on the gas instead of wilting in the second half. Others helping out Jackson is an encouraging sign as Louisville aims to keep opponents from keying on him.
Florida State: The Seminoles stay on the road and will visit South Florida, seeking redemption along with their third win in four meetings against the Bulls.
Louisville: The Cardinals head east on I-64 to face Marshall, looking to end a four-game losing streak against the Thundering Herd.
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