INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Lamar Jackson threw two touchdown passes and compiled 485 total yards Saturday, helping No. 16 Louisville escape with a 35-28 victory over Purdue.
The mistake-prone Cardinals snapped a three-game losing streak.
Jackson, of course, was the difference. He went 30 of 46 with 378 yards through the air while running 21 times for 107 yards. He also moved into the top five in school history on TD passes and yards rushing.
And when Louisville (1-0) needed the defending Heisman Trophy winner to be at his best in the fourth quarter, he didn’t disappoint.
Jackson hooked up with Dez Fitzpatrick on a 20-yard score with 9:01 remaining to give the Cardinals a 32-28 lead then drove them into field goal position on the ensuing possession to make it a seven-point game.
“Our defense came through,” Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. “They (Purdue) did a nice job executing their offense. We had a hard time stopping their outside guys.”
Purdue (0-1) couldn’t rally in coach Jeff Brohm’s debut, losing its eighth straight.
“I thought we showed fight,” Brohm said. “But unfortunately we came up short.”
Louisville blew three scoring chances in the first half — losing two fumbles at the goal line and mismanaging the clock at the end of the half. The Boilermakers converted another fumble recovery in the third quarter into a touchdown and nearly forced a fourth fumble.
Louisville also was called for five false start penalties in the first 16 minutes, finished with nine and had another penalty for an illegal snap. Cornerback Jaire Alexander, an All-American hopeful, got hurt on an ill-advised return off of a blocked field goal, costing the Cardinals 19 yards on a play that nearly resulted in yet another turnover. Alexander did not return.
Purdue took advantage of the miscues by building a 14-10 halftime lead, extending it to 21-13 in the third quarter and then retaking the lead on Elijah Sindelar’s 14-yard TD pass to Jackson Anthrop with 10:48 left.
Bu Jackson put it away by leading Louisville to back-to-back scores.
Louisville: The victory shouldn’t fool anyone. While the Cardinals pulled it out and Jackson put up Heisman-like numbers, the Cardinals must make a lot of improvement over the next two weeks to challenge defending national champion Clemson in the ACC.
Purdue: Brohm and the Boilermakers faced long odds but fought hard and played well enough to challenge a team expected to compete for a College Football Playoff spot. It’s an encouraging start for the rebuilding program.
Louisville: Opens ACC play on Sept. 9 at North Carolina, its final tuneup before facing Clemson.
Purdue: Will play underneath the lights Friday night when Mid-American Conference contender Ohio comes to town.