Jackson, Cardinals nearly boiled by Purdue in season opener

By on September 3, 2017

By Dalton Ray–

Football’s 99th season began in Indianapolis, Indiana against the Purdue Boilermakers. The sixteenth-ranked Cardinals held off a feisty Purdue team, winning 35-28.

U of L trailed for most of the game, including the fourth quarter. Three turnovers and 14 penalties hampered the Cardinals.

Junior Lamar Jackson passed for 378 yards and two touchdowns, completing 30 of his 46 attempts. He also rushed for 107 yards.

Fibbing numbers

Entering halftime, Louisville dominated the stat line.

The Cards out-gained Purdue 289 yards to 137 yards. Louisville threw for more than 100 yards and rushed for 50 in the opening half.

U of L guarded time of possession as well, owning nearly 19 minutes of the first 30.

Purdue didn’t have a single rusher eclipse 25 yards but took advantage of good field possession for their first score. The Boilermakers milked the clock and punched in a score just before the half.

The only two categories Louisville didn’t win: Penalties and turnovers.

The Cardinals committed eight penalties and two turnovers in the opening half.

2016 hangover

Penalties and turnovers haunted Louisville last season. The same issues popped up in Lucas Oil Stadium.

On the opening drive, Jackson fumbled a hand-off at the one yard line. Purdue recovered and then drove down the field, taking a 7-0 lead.

Leading 10-7, Louisville advanced the ball to the Purdue one yard line again in the second quarter. Purdue stuffed senior Jeremy Smith at the goal line and popped the ball out — the Cardinals’ second fumble.

Ignition by interception

Leading 21-19, Purdue looked to take command of the game midway through the third quarter. Senior Stacy Thomas picked off David Blough and took it 61 yards to the house.

The pick-six gave Louisville a 25-21 lead.

On the next drive, freshman TreSean Smith picked off Blough in the end zone.

The back-to-back interceptions resurrected the Cardinals.

Until the last whistle

Heading into the fourth quarter, Louisville held a 25-21 lead.

Purdue drove down the field and a pass interference put them in scoring position.

Senior Trumaine Washington nearly hauled in Louisville’s third interception, but Purdue’s Jackson Anthrop ripped the ball away in the end zone.

With pressure building, Louisville’s Heisman winner stepped to the challenge.

Jackson hit redshirt freshman Dez Fitzpatrick for a 39-yard strike. The two connected again later in the drive for a 20-yard touchdown.

A field goal put Louisville up 35-28 with four minutes remaining.

With back-to-back fourth down conversions, Purdue inched towards Louisville territory. Senior Chucky Williams skied for an interception with two minutes remaining, delivering the final blow.

You can follow Dalton Ray on Twitter @dray5477

Photos by Nancy Hanner / The Louisville Cardinal

About Dalton Ray

Sports editor (2016-2018) that is technically award winning.Email: dray@louisvillecardinal.com

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