CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.- With No. 5 Louisville on the cusp of suffering a stunning upset, Heisman front-runner Lamar Jackson did what he does best: Play hero. Jackson threw a 29-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Jaylen Smith with 13 seconds left to help the Cardinals escape Virginia, 32-25. The dual-threat quarterback was better in the air, finishing with 361 yards passing and four touchdowns, while rushing for 90 yards.
Virginia scored late in the fourth quarter off a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kurt Benkert and then used a two-point conversion to take a shocking 25-24 lead with less than two minutes remaining. While it feels inconceivable for Jackson to lose a seemingly uncatchable lead in the Heisman race — he's scored one way to impede his ascension would an ugly, head-scratching loss. For a while, it looked like that would happen against 2-6 Virginia. The Cardinals were trailing the Cavaliers, 10-7, at halftime and then fell down 17-7 early in the third quarter before Jackson helped Louisville storm back.
Jackson won't really be in the spotlight for the rest of the regular season, as the Cardinals face unimportant opponents — Boston College, Wake Forest, Houston and Kentucky — for the rest of their schedule. Even a few losses in those contests would make it tough for Jackson to not win the Heisman Trophy.