College Football: Louisville vs North Carolina - D1SportsNet


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College football

Louisville vs North Carolina

No. 17 Louisville knows what it has at quarterback -- Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.

North Carolina does not.

The teams meet Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C., in the ACC opener for both teams, although they are in very different places regarding the most visible position on the field.

Jackson accounted for 485 total yards last week in a tough 35-28 win at Purdue. Known for his running, Jackson threw for 378 yards and two touchdowns.

"He put some balls in small windows," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "His accuracy allowed us to get yards after the catch. He's doing a really nice job with his sets, and when he sets, he gets on line and he's really accurate."

As for North Carolina, LSU graduate transfer Brandon Harris passed for only 60 yards and threw two interceptions in last week's season-opening 35-30 home loss to California. He seemingly was outplayed by redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt, who passed for 161 yards with one touchdown and no picks.

But Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora isn't so fast to make a change on the depth chart.

"We'll go through this week and decide what we're going to do," he said. "Based on Saturday what we saw whether that was enough to make a change, I don't know yet.

"We'll see how they handle this week in practice."

Harris and Surratt came out ahead in a four-way competition in the preseason, separating from last year's backup Nathan Elliott and redshirt freshman Logan Byrd, but not from each other.

Fedora's comments, however, perhaps do indicate a way he is leaning.

"Really, I'm looking for the guy that's going to put us in a position to win," the coach said. "Taking care of the football is still No. 1 with us. You've got to take care of the football."

Harris had the two picks and also missed a wide-open receiver in the end zone for a potential touchdown. He completed 7 of 16 passes, rushing for 5 yards.

Surratt started the second half. He completed 18 of 28 passes and ended up with 66 yards rushing.

"I thought both of them did a nice job with their poise," Fedora said. "Their poise and their communication on the field with their teammates, plus with the coaches on the sideline, was good.

"Brandon threw the two picks, which we can't afford to do, and we've got to get better in that area. I thought Chazz made some good decisions with the ball and when he was running."

Freshman running back Michael Carter was a bright spot, with 11 rushes for a game-high 94 yards and two touchdowns. He showed his speed on a long run of 47 yards. On the downside, he also lost a fumble.

It was not known as of Tuesday if Louisville All-American cornerback Jaire Alexander would play Saturday after suffering a knee injury last week. He was considered day-to-day.

Jackson was helped last week by redshirt freshman wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, who caught four passes for 95 yards in the second half. His 20-yard touchdown reception with 9:01 left gave Louisville a 32-28 lead.

Petrino said he liked the chemistry between his star quarterback and Fitzpatrick.

"I thought he did a really nice job," Petrino said of Fitzpatrick.

"The thing that was good to see was the first catch down the middle. They both saw the coverage; they knew what was going to happen. It was perfectly thrown and caught. On the touchdown pass, they were both exactly on the same page."

It isn't just quarterback play that the Tar Heels are going to have to correct before taking on the Cardinals. The Tar Heels simply made too many mistakes on both sides of the ball to beat Cal, throwing two interceptions, losing a fumble and giving up big plays on defense.

Louisville intercepted three Purdue passes last week.

Petrino praised his defense this week, but left room to compliment the Tar Heels.

"They look good on video, they run the ball well and we got two quarterbacks again to prepare for," he said.

"Defensively, they've got a lot of experience -- you turn the video on from last year and this year and it's a lot of the same players playing, particularly at linebacker and in the secondary. We just have to have a great week of preparation."


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