LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- There will be six more college football Saturdays until the Heisman Trophy balloting is completed. But right now, there is zero drama in the Heisman Trophy race.
That’s because there’s Lamar Jackson, and then there’s everybody else. The Louisville quarterback continued his inevitable march to New York in Saturday’s 54-13 blistering of NC State. He amassed 431 yards and four more total touchdowns, giving him 34 on the season.
Jackson had been bottled up, at least by his soaring standards, in the No. 7 Cardinals’ last game on Oct. 14 against Duke. The Blue Devils played keepaway from Jackson and the Louisville offense by bleeding the clock as much as possible. Jackson still managed 144 rushing yards and 181 passing yards, but he had “only” two scores in the ho-hum, 24-14 victory.
Against NC State, he reacquainted himself with the end zone right away. Jackson completed his first three passes for 36 yards and then ran for a 36-yard touchdown just 1:33 into the game. His day didn’t include many spectacular Heisman highlights, like his hurdle at Syracuse. Still, a 74-yard touchdown pass to Jaylen Smith and his laser to Jamari Staples to convert a third-and-goal from the 16 qualified as special.
Jackson did stiff-arm a Wolfpack defender at one point, an image caught on film that looked curiously like a certain bronze statue.
He did most of his damage with his throwing arm, however. Jackson completed 20 of 34 passes for 355 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. His fourth score of the game gave him the school record for most touchdowns responsible for in a single season. The sophomore accomplished that in just seven games.
NC State took Clemson to overtime last week and would have pulled the upset if not for a missed field goal at the end of regulation. Maybe the Wolfpack had little left in the tank following that heartbreaking loss and a win in the slop against Notre Dame two weeks ago. Or maybe Louisville is just that good. Either way, NC State trailed 44-0 at halftime while managing only 54 yards. It was sheer dominance, as Jackson single-handedly had more yardage than the entire Wolfpack.
The Cardinals (6-1, 4-1 ACC) should cruise for the next few weeks, as the schedule sees them go to Virginia and Boston College before returning home against Wake Forest. The Nov. 17 game at Houston is the only marquee game left on the schedule, and perhaps the last real spotlight opportunity for Jackson.
But while Louisville needs style points to keep alive its outside shot at the College Football Playoff, the opponents don’t really matter for Jackson at this point. His numbers are overwhelming. And they add up to create zero Heisman drama right now.