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Bulldogs rally over Louisville in TaxSlayer Bowl

31 December, 2017, 03:05 | Author: Sylvester Abbott
  • Bulldogs rally over Louisville in TaxSlayer Bowl

In the first half of the TaxSlayer Bowl against Mississippi State, the 2016 Heisman Trophy victor threw for 107 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Freshman quarterback Keytaon Thompson, made his first start in place of injured Nick Fitzgerald, rushing for 147 yards and three touchdowns.

Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy victor playing perhaps his final college game, countered with a game-record 158 rushing yards on 24 carries. He led Louisville to a 9-4 (7-1 ACC) record while throwing for 3,543 yards, 30 touchdowns and nine interceptions on 230-of-409 passing, as well as rushing for 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns on 260 attempts.

The No. 4 Bulldogs were without a head coach, offensive or defensive coordinator and their usual starting quarterback. West Virginia's Pat White set the previous mark with 145 yards in 2007. Interim head coach Greg Knox, along with multiple assistants in new positions, led the team after former head coach Dan Mullen left for Florida, taking assistants with him.

Jackson, who finished third in this year's Heisman voting, entered Saturday's game with 67 passing touchdowns and 49 rushing. He led the Bulldogs to touchdowns on their first two possessions, ending the second scoring drive with a gritty 14-yard scamper.

Louisville answered with a 13-play, 61-yard drive that stalled in the red zone. Even though quarterback Lamar Jackson is likely to join them in the upcoming draft, he chose to play in the TaxSlayer Bowl for one reason.

Jackson said he still has to decide whether to leave early for the National Football League draft, but clearly has nothing left to prove at the college level.

Knox said wide receivers Donald Gray (groin) and Keith Mixon (ankle) will not play in the TaxSlayer Bowl. "Scheme-wise, it's kind of up in the air because they are under two different playcallers", Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. Only three players in FBS history have accumulated 50 touchdown passes and 50 rushing touchdowns in their career: Jackson, Tim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick. He led Mississippi State to two touchdowns during the final minutes to almost pull off a comeback win in the Egg Bowl.

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