Rocky II was probably the best sequel to any movie ever made. Lamar Jackson’s encore performance to his outstanding Heisman campaign of a year ago is on pace to be an even better sequel.
On Saturday, Jackson accounted for 525 yards of total offense (393 passing / 132 rushing). Jackson is just the 2nd QB to throw for over 300 yards and run for another 100 in back-to-back games, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That 525 yards was better than what 98 FBS teams accomplished after their first week.
Towards the end of last year, it felt that defenses may have had a beat on Jackson. In Louisville’s final three games of 2016, Jackson was held to just 48% completion, 215 passing yards per game, and as many TD’s as INT’s (3 each). Either Purdue and/or North Carolina lost those blue prints on how to slow Jackson or he’s gotten that much better. I’m going to go with the latter. Through two games Jackson is averaging 64.7% completion, 388 passing yards per game, five TD’s and zero INT’s.
At this pace Jackson is not only going repeat his Heisman Trophy winning performance statistically, but exceed in some ways. Jackson’s on pace for 4,656 passing yards. Last season he had 3,543 yards. The easiest explanation as to why he’s throwing for more yards is because he isn’t running as often. Wrong! Jackson’s on pace for 1,434 yards on the ground. In 2016, he had a bit more with 1,571. Despite being on pace for less yards, 1,434 rushing yards would have put Jackson 3rd in the ACC last season behind himself and FSU’s Dalvin Cook.
To be the best you have to beat the best and Jackson is winning the fight early.