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Scoggins: Louisville's Jackson becomes talk of college football

On August 31, an article with my name attached to it that focused on pre-season Heisman Trophy candidates ended with this gem: “My list of five Heisman candidates this season is 100 percent can’t-miss (bet at your own risk, just in case).

Doh!

Good thing I put that disclaimer in there. Looks like my streak of overlooking the eventual winner might remain intact.

Yes, the season is only three weeks old, but Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson has emerged as a Heisman frontrunner and the talk of college football in leading the Cardinals to No. 3 in the AP poll this week.

Jackson has simply been the best and most exciting player in college football the first month of the season.

He is averaging 459 yards of offense per game and has accounted for 18 touchdowns.

He has passed for 913 yards and eight touchdowns with only two interceptions. He also has rushed for 464 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He ranks second nationally in rushing and 19th in passing. Hard to be more dual threat than that.

 This isn’t a case of a player solely feasting on September weaklings in non-conference. Jackson ran circles around Florida State’s defense in a 63-20 victory on Saturday.

Jackson rushed for 146 yards and four touchdowns and passed for 216 yards and one touchdown.

His next big test comes Oct. 1 when Louisville plays at Clemson in a game that will have playoff implications.

CHIP SHOTS

Every coach in the nation should talk to their players about the proper to celebrate a touchdown. Some along these lines: DON’T DROP THE BALL BEFORE YOU CROSS THE GOAL LINE!

We saw that brain cramp happen twice over the weekend by Oklahoma and Cal players who inexplicably started to celebrate prematurely by dropping the ball short of the end zone.

Other players have made that same embarrassing gaffe in recent years. It’s maddening because it’s entirely preventable.

Here’s an idea: Hand the ball to the official in the end zone. And then celebrate with teammates.

……………….

If I were still an AP voter, I would put North Dakota State in my Top 25 poll. The Bison’s 23-21 victory at Iowa was no fluke.

NDSU was more physical along the lines, which doesn’t happen very often to Iowa.

The Bison play with supreme confidence, which they should, considering the remarkable success by their program.

Big Ten athletic directors agreed to stop scheduling FCS opponents moving forward. I’m guessing other conferences will avoid scheduling the Bison, as well, because they have won six consecutive games against FBS opponents.

……………………..

Remember all the preseason talk about Ohio State being young and inexperienced after losing a boatload of starters on both sides? Yeah, never mind. The Buckeyes are scary good, again.

……………….

Former Gophers quarterback Philip Nelson, now the starter at East Carolina, ranks fifth nationally in passing at 365 yards per game. Nelson leads the nation in completion percentage at 78.9.

……………………………

Oops: Notre Dame is 1-2 and realistically already out of playoff consideration, and matters got worse for head coach Brian Kelly.

A tweet imploring Kelly to fire defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was “liked” by someone operating Kelly’s official twitter account.

Kelly explained to reporters that he has several people that monitor his account and that one of them inadvertently “liked” that tweet as they scrolled through mentions.

Notre Dame ranks 94th nationally in scoring defense and 102nd in total defense.

Safe bet that Kelly’s assistant no longer has access to his twitter account.

………………………….

Tennessee has lost 11 consecutive meetings against rival Florida entering Saturday’s showdown in Knoxville. That’s not a misprint. Eleven …. consecutive …. games!

If the streak reaches 12, someone please check on me. Thanks in advance.

………………………..

I thought Miami playing at Appalachian State potentially could be a trap game ripe for an upset, but first-year Mark Richt had his team mentally focused in a 45-10 rout.

The Hurricanes have crushed three inferior non-conference opponents to start the season. They have a bye this week before starting ACC play. Curious to see if they can sustain this early momentum under Richt, the former Georgia coach.

…………………….

Wisconsin opened the season by defeating LSU at Lambeau Field. Tough opening opponent but now comes the hard part.

The Badgers begin Big Ten play Saturday at Michigan State to start a ridiculously challenging five-game stretch that goes thusly:

At Michigan State

At Michigan

Ohio State

At Iowa

Nebraska

……………………..

Further proof that preseason rankings are pointless other than to create barstool conversation: Oklahoma.

The Sooners were ranked No. 3 in the preseason and a trendy pick to make the four-team playoff (including by this dummy).

The Sooners fell to 1-2 after getting drilled by Ohio State at home on Saturday. Oklahoma looked out-classed by Houston in the opener, too.

The difference in speed and overall talent between Ohio State and Oklahoma was unmistakable.

Scoggins: Drafting Kendricks and Hunter continues to pay dividends

Decision that changed the game

The decision that changed the Vikings opener didn’t come Sunday but last spring when the organization drafted Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter in back-to-back rounds, the second and third.

Those personnel decisions already looked smart before Sunday, of course, but those two second-year defenders saved the Vikings with defensive touchdowns in the second half of a 25-16 victory at Tennessee in the opener.

With the offense unable to score touchdowns and Blair Walsh hooking field goals like a bad golfer, Kendricks and Hunter showed why the Vikings have such high hopes in their ability to be difference-makers. 

In the third quarter, Kendricks sniffed out a screen pass, picked off Marcus Mariota and returned it 77 yards for a touchdown. Everson Griffen’s pressure forced a rushed throw by Mariota, and Kendricks showed great instincts to intercept the pass.

In the fourth quarter, Hunter scooped up a botched handoff and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown, giving the Vikings breathing room.

Mike Zimmer has constructed a Top-5 defense with a nucleus of young talent. Kendricks and Hunter are part of that foundation, along with Harrison Smith, Griffen, Anthony Barr and Xavier Rhodes.

Zimmer raved about Kendrick’s development during training camp, saying his middle linebacker looks more comfortable in his second season in the system.

Hunter was billed as a raw project at defensive end, but his six sacks last season proved he could provide an immediate impact.

Both players are fast and instinctive and seem to fit Zimmer’s scheme perfectly.

TV Listings

Local Schedule

< >
  • Vikings at Carolina

    12 pm on Ch. 9, 100.3/1130

  • Seattle at Twins

    1:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Wild at Buffalo (preseason)

    6 pm on 100.3-FM

  • Twins at Kansas City

    6:15 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Colorado at Wild (preseason)

    7 pm on 100.3-FM

  • Twins at Kansas City

    6:15 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Twins at Kansas City

    6:15 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Wild at Winnipeg (preseason)

    7 pm on NHLN, 100.3-FM

  • Lindenwood at Gophers women's hockey

    7:07 pm

  • Twins at Chicago White Sox

    7:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Lindenwood at Gophers women's hockey

    2:07 pm

  • Gophers football at Penn State

    2:30 pm on BTN, 100.3-FM

  • Twins at Chicago White Sox

    6:10 pm on FSN, 96.3-FM

  • Jacksonville at Minnesota United FC

    7 pm on Ch. 29

Today's Scoreboard

  • St. Louis

    Chicago Cubs

     

    - F

    10

    4

  • Kansas City

    Detroit

     

    - F

    7

    4

  • Texas

    Oakland

     

    - F

    5

    0

  • NY Yankees

    Toronto

     

    - F

    0

    3

  • Boston

    Tampa Bay

     

    - F

    6

    4

  • Arizona

    Baltimore

     

    - F

    1

    6

  • Washington

    Pittsburgh

     

    - F

    6

    1

  • Chicago White Sox

    Cleveland

     

    - F

    8

    1

  • LA Angels

    Houston

     

    - F

    10

    4

  • Atlanta

    Miami

     

    - F

    4

    6

  • Cincinnati

    Milwaukee

     

    - F

    6

    1

  • Seattle

    Minnesota

     

    - F

    2

    3

  • Philadelphia

    NY Mets

     

    - F

    10

    8

  • San Francisco

    San Diego

     

    - F

    9

    6

  • Colorado

    LA Dodgers

     

    - F

    1

    14

No NFL games today

No NBA games today

No NHL games today

  • Philadelphia

    Toronto FC

     

    - F

    1

    1

  • Colorado

    Vancouver

     

    - F

    3

    3

  • Montreal

    New York

     

    - F

    0

    1

  • Orlando City SC

    D.C.

     

    - F

    1

    4

  • Portland

    Houston

     

    - F

    1

    3

  • FC Dallas

    Real Salt Lake

     

    - F

    0

    0

  • Sporting Kansas City

    San Jose

     

    - F

    2

    1