After Louisville’s gut wrenching 31-24 loss to Auburn Saturday, a new star has emerged for the Cardinals. Lamar Jackson’s relief performance earned him the starting job going into week 2 against Houston. Below is a comparison of Louisville’s offense with Reggie Bonnafon and Lamar Jackson at quarterback.

Category R. Bonnafon L. Jackson Variance
Drives 5 6 1
Plays 32 49 17
Plays per Drive 6.4 8.2 1.8
Yards Per Play 3.9 5.8 1.9
Points 0 24 24
Points Efficiency (Points Per Drive > Expected)* -1.5 1.8 3.3
Yards Efficiency (Yds. / Drive > Expected)* -7.6 16.6 24.2
Raw Points per Play 0 .49 .49
Total Offensive Eff.** 64.51 102.56

*Departure from an average team given starting field position. Avg. = 0.

**Calculated on same premise as QB Rating for college. FG, Fumbles, Incompletions, and Tackles for Loss Allowed included. Average Team Eff. = 100.

The Offensive Efficiency Rating is another metric developed at; to contrast, Auburn’s Offensive Efficiency for the game was 104.37

The improvement of the Louisville offense was noticeable during the 2nd half; offensive efficiency went up to 123.69. Only one negative rushing play occurred in the second half (a 1-yard loss on a Brandon Radcliffe run). The dynamic Jackson brings to the Cardinal offense, especially with a struggling offensive line, is going to be the key moving forward.

The comparisons of Jackson to Teddy Bridgewater have begun in terms of talent. Can one compare them? Yes, from an athletic ability and from their respective football IQs. Like Bridgewater, Jackson has spent most, if not all, of his time playing quarterback and has a solid knowledge and feel for the position. Both are playmakers and can orchestrate positive drives in their own right. Before we compare too deeply, the two are playing in entirely different offensive schemes and at a different level of competition.

We will compare Bridgewater’s first significant relief performance against Kentucky versus Jackson’s performance against Auburn.

Category T. Bridgewater L. Jackson
Play 51 49
Yards per Play 4.5 5.8
Points per Play .33 .49
Individual Pass Yds 106 100
Pass Yards per Att 5.6 5.0
Rush Yards -4 106
Completion % 55.6% 45%
QB Rating 141.7 77.0


Note: Teddy Bridgewater ended the 2011 season with a QB rating of 132.4 that wildly varied throughout the season; he also ended the season with 5.7 yards per play. Those will be the numbers to watch as comparisons begin. This will be revisited after week 6 (if Jackson is still the starter). For now we can only say Lamar Jackson has the potential to be great, but a comparison to Teddy is unfair, we will refer to him as Lamar 1.0.

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Greg Hydes

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