Amazing that USF toppled the No. 9 team in the country Saturday night.
Amazing that Amarri Jackson, a sophomore wide receiver, was a one-man show with three touchdowns in the 45-14 upset of the Louisville Cardinals.
Even more amazing is that this time last year, Jackson wasn’t running any routes; he was running up and down the court as a member of the Hillsborough Community College basketball team.
Amazing to everyone, except his teammates.
“I’m not surprised,” running back Andre Hall said. “That’s what I expect out of him every time. I’m just happy it happened tonight.”
Before the Louisville game, Jackson – the Bulls’ No. 1 wide receiver – had only two catches for 15 yards for the season. Throughout the first three games, USF offensive coordinator Rod Smith had been trying to get Jackson more involved in the offense, but there were two things missing.
“One, Amarri had to be more aggressive, which he was,” Smith said. “And two, we did a better job of getting him the football. He was a big part of what we wanted to do.”
Being more aggressive, Jackson was a triple threat, passing, catching and rushing his way to 149 yards of total offense. Jackson scored twice on touchdown runs of 51 and 12 yards and was on the throwing end of an 11-yard touchdown pass in a trick play the Bulls have worked overtime on in practice.
“We actually practiced it last week, but we got up and we didn’t want to show it,” Smith said.The play was a toss to Jackson, who rolled left and found tight end Derek Carter wide open in the end zone.
“I was just praying he’d catch it,” Smith said. “We wanted to run it last week, but we never got the opportunity. But I love it this week, though. It couldn’t come at a better time.”The play made the score 38-7, ending any hopes of a Louisville comeback.
Jackson credited the offensive line and Carter with the success of the play.
“It was a great catch,” Jackson said. “Anybody could’ve threw the ball; we could’ve flipped it out there.”
Jackson gave all the praise to his team for the win, but it’s his teammates who are ready to bring him into the spotlight.
“Last week he got to mess with me if I was slacking in practice,” Hall said. “I get to mess with him a little bit now. Now, all eyes are on him.”
His coaches are ready as well.
Smith was certain Jackson was poised for a breakout game, and after Saturday’s game, he could be in for a breakout year.
“He just made plays – that kid’s got a lot of talent,” Smith said. “We are going to see a lot more of Amarri Jackson.”