By LARRY VAUGHT
Kentucky Radio Network football analyst Jeff Piecoro says no one should doubt that 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson remains one of the “greatest” players in college football.
The Louisville quarterback has thrown for 8,656 yards and 65 touchdowns in his career. This season he’s 226 of 378 passing for 3,273 yards and 23 scores with six interceptions.
Jackson has also rushed for 3,818 career yards and 49 touchdowns, including 17 scores and 1,287 yards this season. He’s carried the ball 613 times and averaged 6.2 yards per try in his career.
“But the most amazing then to me when you look is that he has run the ball over 100 times more than the next running back but has not missed a play this year,” Piecoro said during an appearance on WBPK-FM this week. “Everything at him is just a glancing blow. No one squarely hits him. It’s just amazing what he does with his build. Louisville is not as good as last year, especially defensively, but don’t doubt Thomas. He’s great.”
Kentucky hosts Louisville Saturday at noon and Piecoro agrees with others that for UK to win, the Cats have to be able to run the ball and get Benny Snell going early.
“This defense is not as good as last year and Kentucky ran on them last year,” Piecoro said. “But Louisville will have a chip on its shoulder from losing last year.
“It’s Senior Day. You are at home. You beat them last year but you are a (10-point) underdog. Kentucky needs to play with a chip on its shoulder as well.”
Piecoro says even though UK is 7-4, he’s never been able to gauge from week to week how the team might play.
“I just cannot get a feel for how this team is going to do,” he said. “At Mississippi State they seemed relaxed and ready to go and then the game started and it was like almost nobody wanted to be there.”
With tight end C.J. Conrad out after foot surgery, Piecoro thinks former center/guard Nick Haynes could play some at tight end even though coach Mark Stoops said it would not happen.
“I still think you will see Haynes (at tight end) in some sets. I think it will be a real bonus to have him on the edge,” Piecoro said. “He’s lost about 40 pounds this year due to his diabetes but he is still 265. That’s good size for a tight end and he’s athletic with decent feet.”