TaxSlayer Bowl: Lamar Jackson's mistake-filled day leads to Mississippi State win
Lamar Jackson threw four interceptions and Mississippi State won 31-27
Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson might have played his final game in college football, and while he etched his name into the record books in a few more spots, the TaxSlayer Bowl was not the finest performance from the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner and 2017 finalist.
Jackson completed just 13-of-31 pass attempts for 171 yards and threw two touchdowns, but also four interceptions in a 31-27 loss to Mississippi State. The onus for the result wasn't entirely on Jackson, as Mississippi State deserves a ton of credit for its play on both sides of the ball without coach Dan Mullen on the sideline or starting quarterback Nick Fitzgerald on the field because of an ankle injury.
Fitzgerald's replacement, true freshman Keytaon Thompson, stepped right into the role of carrying the offensive responsibility for the Bulldogs, rushing for 147 yards and three touchdowns while adding 127 yards and a score on 11-for-20 passing. It was Thompson's first career start since the 2016 Louisiana state championship game and yet he was in total control early, leading Mississippi State right down the field for touchdowns on the first two possessions of the game.
But you knew Jackson wasn't going to be totally upstaged, and sure enough, he had one of the best highlights of the game on this ankle-breaking touchdown run in the second quarter to tie the game at 14-14.
Lamar Jackson is doing Lamar Jackson things.— ESPN (@espn) December 30, 2017
Don't miss it on ESPN and in the ESPN App. pic.twitter.com/2oRXR7WaUh
Jackson finished with 158 rushing yards on the back of a career-long 75-yard run, and in doing so, he joined Vince Young as the only quarterbacks in FBS history to rush for at least 150 yards in multiple bowl games. That mark was also a new TaxSlayer Bowl record for rushing yards, breaking the previous mark set by West Virginia's Pat White.
Speaking of good company, Jackson also joined the 50-50 club. Only three players in FBS history have accumulated 50 touchdown passes and 50 rushing touchdowns in their career: Jackson, Tim Tebow and Colin Kaepernick.
Louisville's defense did a good job of bailing out the Cardinals after Jackson's four interceptions, allowing just 10 points off turnovers and coming up with stops to get the ball back in the hands of the offense. Jackson even had a chance to win the game in the final minute, but Mississippi State's front seven, which had dominated most of the game, ended up winning the game on the field.
For new Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead, this game is incredibly encouraging for the future of the Bulldogs program. They had an interim coaching staff and were without their star quarterback, but yet it was Mississippi State that looked like the more composed team in the bowl game.
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