Cards' Jackson faces his toughest task yet

Cards' Jackson faces his toughest task yet

With one game still left, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson already has enjoyed a season for the ages.  But will the Heisman Trophy winner go out with a bang or a whimper?

The Cardinals confront LSU in today’s Citrus Bowl, which kicks off at 11 a.m. ET. Online sports book BetDSI opened the Tigers as 2.5-point favorites over Bobby Petrino’s squad. The over/under is set at 59.5.

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On Dec. 10, Jackson took home college football’s most beloved prize. In addition to throwing for 3,390 yards and 30 touchdowns, he racked up another 21 scores on the ground. Yet the 19-year-old sophomore did commit four turnovers in the Cards’ regular-season finale, a 41-38 loss to Kentucky.

The Bayou Bengals and their ferocious defense will undoubtedly try to force him into more mistakes shortly. Only Texas A&M broke the 21-point barrier against Dave Aranda’s unit in 2016. Playmakers litter the secondary, with safety Jamal Adams and cornerback Tre’Davious White leading the way.

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Nevertheless, LSU enters the tilt with a number of injury concerns. Leading tackler Kendell Beckwith (knee) seems unlikely to suit up at linebacker, while star rusher Leonard Fournette (ankle) decided to skip the proceedings in Orlando to focus on his NFL future. Fortunately, Derrius Guice acquitted himself extremely well as a complementary option throughout the fall, amassing 1,249 yards on 157 carries. 

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Clearly, Louisville failed to put its best foot forward down the stretch. Jackson probably won’t be able to use those preferred vertical routes to great effect, either, given the Tigers’ ability to create congestion. Thus, No. 8 gets no storybook finish at Camping World Stadium.

SATURDAY NCAA FREE PICK: LSU -3

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