LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Just as Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson had Louisville poised for an amazing comeback, Boston College got the turnover it needed and gave the ball to A.J. Dillon.
The freshman’s workhorse rushing set things up for kicker Colton Lichtenberg to cap the Eagles’ own remarkable rally.
Lichtenberg kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired, pushing Boston College past Louisville 45-42 in a shootout Saturday after the Cardinals tied the game late behind three fourth-quarter scores by Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson.
“I was telling people that were asking me, I said, ‘I know, I got this. This is it. It’s going in,'” said Lichtenberg, who had missed a 40-yard attempt in the third quarter.
Jackson’s 41-yard TD run with 5:03 remaining tied the wild game at 42, which seemed improbable considering Louisville seemed down and out after twice trailing by 14 points in the fourth. The junior even had the Cardinals going toward a possible go-ahead score late when he hit Jaylen Smith with a 20-yard pass to midfield, but Darius Wade stripped Smith of the ball and Kamrin Moore returned it 11 yards to Louisville’s 39 before fumbling.
Fortunately for BC, Isaac Yiadom recovered that fumble and set the stage for more heroics by Dillon, who rushed for two of his career-best four TDs in the fourth quarter. Dillon ran seven times for 29 yards down to the Cardinals 10. Lichtenberg followed with the game-winning kick that gave BC (3-4, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) its first league victory since November.
Dillon finished with career-best 272 yards on 39 carries, rushing for TDs from 1, 3, 11 and 75 yards. His yardage total was the third-best single game total for BC, which also got a 6-yard TD run by Jon Hilliman as the Eagles erased a 21-7 deficit with 28 unanswered points after halftime.
“Talking about the offensive line, they did a great job today,” said Dillon, whose total was the most by BC back since 2013 Doak Walker Award winner Andre Williams.
“Those are like my brothers up there. Sometimes I run over to them and say, ‘I’m a lineman too.’ They really put it all on the line for me, Jon and Travis (Levy) today. I can’t them enough.”
BC coach Steve Addazio said of Dillon, “He was a beast out there.”
Jackson, who had 512 combined yards, accounted for five TDs, his biggest being a 40-yard pass to Dez Fitzpatrick and runs of 9 and 41 yards that wiped out a 14-point deficit. Louisville outgained Boston College 625-555, but lost for the third time in five games.
Jackson rushed for 180 yards on 22 carries and holds Louisville’s career mark 3,221. His three rushing TDs also gave him 42 in his career and broke Walter Peacock’s previous mark.
He and Louisville just lacked the victory to show for that effort.
“It was tough, every loss is tough,” Jackson said. “We put in a lot of work, it just didn’t come out.”
Boston College: The Eagles weren’t fazed by a 21-7 first-half deficit and scored 28 unanswered points behind Dillon. They also pressured Jackson and came up with turnovers just as it seemed the Heisman winner would finish a furious rally.
Most impressive was the Eagles’ poise despite trailing by two TDs at one point. Plenty of time remained to come back, and they used that time well while knocking Louisville on its heels. “I thought our guys had great resolve,” Addazio said.
Louisville: Defensive vulnerability continued to haunt the Cardinals, who couldn’t stop Dillon or Hilliman throughout the game and yielded 500-plus yards for the second straight game. It ruined another day in which Jackson broke or tied several records and squashed whatever hope they had of contending for the Atlantic Division title.
“That’s a tough loss right there,” coach Bobby Petrino said. “That’s about a tough of a loss as I can remember.”
Boston College visits Virginia on Oct. 21, looking to improve to 6-0 against the Cavaliers in the first meeting between the schools since 2010.
Louisville visits Florida State on Oct. 21, seeking a second straight win over the Seminoles. Jackson accounted for seven TDs in the 64-21 shellacking that made him the Heisman favorite.