Cardinals Hold Off Texas A&M in Music City Bowl

Lamar Jackson has 4 TDs to lead Louisville past Texas A&M 27-21

 

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP & GoCards.com) - Lamar Jackson ran for a career-high and Music City Bowl-record 226 yards and two touchdowns and threw for two more scores to help Louisville beat Texas A&M 27-21 on Wednesday night.

The freshman, making his first start since Oct. 30, finished with a bowl-record 453 total yards, and set the Louisville career rushing mark before the end of the first quarter in giving the Cardinals a 20-7 lead they never lost. Jackson ran for 126 yards in the first 15 minutes, including a 61-yard scoring run.

Louisville (8-5) won for the eighth time in 10 games. The Cardinals also had third bowl victory in their past four trips.

Texas A&M (8-5) became the first Southeastern Conference team to lose this bowl season. The Aggies made it interesting in the final minutes with their third-string quarterback making his first career start.

Josh Hubenak started after both Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray transferred this month. Hubenak shook off five sacks and two turnovers to throw for 307 yards, including a 29-yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk with 4:54 left that pulled the Aggies to 27-21.

Texas A&M nearly had first-and-goal at the Cardinals 6, but a review showed Kirk did not maintain possession of the ball on his catch. That left Hubenak two more chances inside the final 2 minutes. The Cardinals batted down a pass, then Hubenak was incomplete throwing into the end zone.

The Aggies lost their second straight overall and snapped a four-game bowl winning streak. Aggies wide receiver Josh Reynolds set Music City Bowl records with 11 catches for 177 yards.

Louisville linebacker Devonte Fields had three sacks, and Louisville safety Josh Harvey-Clemons stripped Hubenak him of the ball and intercepted a pass both in the third quarter.

Jackson had no such issues as he passed Stefan LeFors' previous career rushing mark of 756 yards between 2002 and 2004. He showed off the speed that Louisville coach Bobby Petrino wants to bring to the Atlantic Coast Conference, running through, around and over the Aggies.

Jackson set a bowl rushing record, topping the 187 yards Marion Barber of Minnesota ran for in 2004. He also set the total offense mark of 424 set by Mike Glennon of North Carolina state in 2012 as he threw for 227 yards.

He put Louisville up 27-14 with 3:01 left in the third with a 17-yard TD pass to a wide-open Keith Towbridge for his second TD.

Louisville senior linebacker James Burgess' career ended on the Cardinals' first defensive play of the game. He was flagged, then ejected for targeting Texas A&M wide receiver Damion Ratley on a hit that left both the receiver and Cardinals cornerback Shaq Wiggins on the ground for a few minutes. He didn't return until late in the first quarter with a strained lower back.

Aggies defensive end Myles Garrett, who came in leading the SEC in sacks, had a pretty quiet night aside from one sack, giving him a career-high 12 1/2 for the season.