Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson dominated opponents in 2016.
He slayed Charlotte. He gashed Syracuse. He mauled North Carolina State. He overwhelmed Wake Forest.
But on Saturday in the Citrus Bowl, Louisville didn’t face Charlotte, Syracuse, North Carolina State or Wake Forest.
They faced LSU.
And the Tigers showed the country what would happens when the Heisman Trophy winner meets one of the best defenses in the country.
The Tigers crushed Louisville 29-9 in the Citrus Bowl, controlling Jackson throughout the game with relative ease to secure a win – Ed Orgeron’s first as LSU’s full-time coach.
LSU’s defense limited the Heisman Trophy winner to just 10-of-27 passing for 153 yards. As a runner, the quarterback was bottled up, rushing 26 times for 33 yards, while losing a fumble.
Both totals were season lows.
Orgeron said the defensive effort on Jackson was “awesome,” but not unexpected. He said LSU had a chip on its shoulder and wanted to prove that it can contain any player in America.
“We were one step ahead the whole game,” Orgeron said when asked about his defense. “The game plan was as good as it could be. They didn’t let up the whole game.”
Jackson never had much of a chance.
LSU dominated the line of scrimmage throughout Saturday’s game, often hitting Jackson before he had a chance to throw the football.
The Cardinals scored first – a five-play, 55-yard drive capped by a lengthy field goal to take a 3-0 lead.
But after that trek, LSU’s defense didn’t allow a thing.
In Louisville’s next nine drives after the field goal, LSU limited the Cardinals to just 18 total yards on 30 plays, sacking Jackson countless times to keep Louisville against the chains.
“Their defense was working extremely hard,” Jackson said after the game. “We had opportunities, but we didn’t take advantage. And they attacked us and really made us have to work for everything we were able to get.”
While the Cardinals punted the football to LSU, the Tigers took advantage, scoring 26 combined points in the second and third quarters combined after going without a point in the first quarter.
The Tigers first two touchdowns both came on 1-yard passes – the first to tight end Colin Jeter and the next to Derrius Guice. The scores put LSU up 14-3.
The Tigers added two more points to that tally right before halftime when they tackled Jackson in his own end zone for a safety, which made the score 16-3.
But it didn’t last until halftime.
On LSU’s next possession, the Tigers threw an interception, which set up the Cardinals with prime real estate – field position they used for a late field goal to send the game to halftime with LSU up 16-6.
The second half was another verse, but it was same as the first.
LSU dominated the final 30 minutes, just as they did the first 30, using 10 third-quarter points to seize control for good.
The first score came by Guice – a 70-yard scamper to put the Tigers up 23-6.
After a Louisville punt, LSU attacked again, finishing a drive with a 42-yard field goal from Colby Delahoussaye to go up 26-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Guice finished the game with 138 yards on 26 carries and the lone score.
Etling was also a threat, completing 16-of-29 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
Orgeron said Guice’s ability to play without Leonard Fournette in the lineup was a huge factor in the win.
“He’s one of the best players in the USA,” Orgeron said of Guice. “He didn’t blink an eye (without Fournette). We expect him to be the best player in American next year.”
In the final quarter, Louisville moved the ball a couple times, but they were never a significant threat.
They got a field goal early in the quarter to make the score 26-9, but the Tigers added one of their own right back to run the score to its final margin.
The Cardinals got near the end zone late in the game, but were stuffed on fourth down – a fitting end for Louisville’s day.
Orgeron said the victory will jump start the Tigers into next season – his first full year with the team.
After the win, Orgeron celebrated with friends and family on the field, then went into the LSU locker room.
He danced with his players – a fitting way to ring in the New Year.
“It was a great win for our football team,” Orgeron said. “We worked hard and we got the result we wanted.”
Photo: LSU vs. Missouri by Sean Gasser.