VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
BOX/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Back-to-back Heisman? LJ looks better

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Lamar Jackson has looked even better than last year, when his performance was good enough to make him the youngest player to ever win the Heisman Trophy.

Advertisement

This year, the junior quarterback has posted remarkably similar, eye-opening statistics but the attention has been more muted after Louisville stumbled through a 1-4 midseason stretch in Atlantic Coast Conference play this year.

His skills, leadership abilities and prospects as a pro quarterback have been questioned, particularly after defending national champion Clemson and QB counterpart Kelly Bryant upstaged Jackson and the Cardinals in a 47-21 loss in September.

Jackson has sidestepped questions about his NFL future and remained focused on helping Louisville win. And while he doesn't have the same talent around him like last year, he has led Louisville (8-4) to a three-game winning streak and a berth in the Dec. 30 TaxSlayer Bowl against No. 24 Mississippi State.

He has earned a return trip to New York on Saturday as a Heisman finalist and can become just the second repeat winner and first since Ohio State's Archie Griffin did it in 1974, and '75.

"I don't really think about all that," said Jackson, 20, a finalist along with Stanford running back Bryce Love and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. "I just come into the game with a passion. I hate losing. I love to win, and that's it."

But the stats he has put up along the way have been impressive. He has:

- Passed for 3,489 of his 4,932 yards of offense, a total four yards better than last year.

- Scored 42 touchdowns (25 passing), just nine fewer than in 2016.

- Improved his completion rate from 56 percent to over 60 percent with just six interceptions.

- Led the nation in total offense per game with 411 yards (one more than last season).

- Become the first player in the Football Bowl Subdivision to surpass 3,000 yards passing and 1,000 rushing in consecutive seasons.

- Been named the ACC offensive and overall player of the year, with a school-record 12-game streak of 300-plus yards.

Former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy has seen Jackson's development and believes he has even more upside at the pro level.

"We forget, this kid's really young," said McElroy, an ESPN analyst. "I happen to think the best is way in front of him and if I was an NFL talent evaluator, I would absolutely roll the dice on the kid."

Taking more snaps under center seems to have helped the Pompano Beach, Florida, native. Jackson has shown more poise and patience in the pocket before taking off running.

His best game statistically was a 525-yard, six-TD performance at North Carolina preceding Louisville's slump that dropped the Cardinals out of the Top 25 and ACC title contention. But the 6-foot-3, 207-pound Jackson remains one of the nation's top offensive players because of his ability to pass and to embarrass defenders with his legs.

"Every day in practice he'll do something or he'll turn around and look at me and comment on his knowledge of the passing game and what he would like to do or what the corner(back) did," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "It's just so much fun to watch how he's grown. I don't think I've ever been around someone that competes like he does and backs it up with confidence and is so humble."

Jackson can still be soft spoken in interviews but appears to have embraced the media demands that seemed to overwhelm him as a sophomore. He has opened up more, seems comfortable during interviews, even after losses.

Signs that Jackson was coming out of his shell emerged during the week leading up to last year's Heisman ceremony that featured his flashy fashion combination: a red velvet blazer with shiny black lapels, a black bow tie and black suede loafers adorned with menacing yellow eyes. Initially reluctant to wear the shoes, he happily welcomed the subsequent social media buzz.

Last month's regular-season finale against rival Kentucky also revealed Jackson's competitive spirit.

After being knocked out of bounds a yard short of the goal line, Jackson bumped helmets with Kentucky linebacker Jordan Jones before shoving him. That ignited a fight with the players wrestling each other on the turf before the QB was pulled from the fracas.

Jackson eventually accounted for 372 yards and two passing TDs in Louisville's 44-17 rout, atoning for his costly late-game fumble last year that led to Kentucky's game-winning field goal in a 41-38 upset.

"There was stuff said," he said last month. "They wanted to win, we wanted to win."

That desire has helped Jackson return to the national stage playing his best football since early last season, when the Heisman became his to lose. Though history is against him when it comes to winning the trophy again, returning has proven that last season wasn't a fluke - there's no doubt he is one of the best college players in the nation.

"I'm just happy to be going to New York again," Jackson said. "It's up to the voters."

---

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-Top25

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
· BetDSI: Early Line Moves - Week 4
· Bookmaker: Power 5 Top Wagers - Week 4
· Bookmaker: Wisconsin at Iowa
· BetDSI: Texas A&M at Alabama
· Nelson: 4th Quarter Covers - Week 3
· YouWager.eu: Games to Watch - Week 4
· BetDSI: Heisman Betting Update
· Williams: Betting Recap - Week 3
· Bookmaker: Washington State at USC
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB Hot Streaks
10-2 L4 Saturdays, 13-6 TY
4-0 G-Plays, 7-3 L2 Saturdays
6-2 Record Saturday
10-4 Last 3 Saturdays
6-2 CFB Picks Saturday
2-0 Thurs., 12-5 Picks, 5-2 Totals
2-0 Friday, 7-2 Picks, 4-1 G-Plays
3-0 Guarantees, 12-5 Win Streak
4-2 Saturday, 4-1 Totals, 3-1 GPlays
5-1 CFB Over/Unders TY
8-4 L12 Picks, 3-1 L4 Guarantees
8-4 Guaranteed Record
5-2 Record Saturday
4-1 Week 3, 3-0 Thursdays
3-1 Saturday, 7-3 L10 Picks
9-3 L12 Totals, 9-5 L2 Saturdays
NCAA FB College Football Expert Season Sports Picks
2018 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 617
Scott Pritchard + 355
Bruce Marshall + 343
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Pat Hawkins + 380
Michael Black + 372
Dave Cokin + 295
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Rickenbach 68 %
Scott Pritchard 63 %
Joe Nelson 60 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Nelson + 400
Antony Dinero + 357
Greg Smith + 300
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Ben Burns + 390
Scott Rickenbach + 280
Vince Akins + 270
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 550
NeiltheGreek + 400
Kyle Hunter + 300
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, SAVE 10% off a Live Odds Pro subscription, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership