Senior running back, Malik Williams, will look to continue posting big numbers for the Cardinals after carrying the backfield against North Carolina.
For the 2-0 Cardinals, it’s been the “Lamar Jackson Show” so far this season. This is far from a surprise, but Louisville is going to need more playmakers on offense if they want to put themselves into the playoff conversation. Luckily for the Cardinals, Malik Williams separated himself from the trio of senior running backs and enjoyed a huge game against North Carolina. Louisville will need another game like this if they are going to get past Clemson at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium this Saturday.
In Louisville’s first game this year, Lamar Jackson led the rushing attack with 21 carries for 107 yards. Louisville running backs combined for only 11 carries and 41 rushing yards as they got by Purdue for a tight 35-28 victory. None of those carries went to Malik Williams; he only touched the ball twice with two receptions for 17 yards.
The North Carolina game was a much different story. With fellow running back Jeremy Smith missing the game (and the rest of this season) with an injury, Malik Williams shined. He still had less carries that Lamar Jackson, but he racked up a whopping 149 yards on only 13 rushing attempts (11.5 yards per carry). Of course Lamar Jackson continued to post impressive numbers, but Louisville will need another playmaker for defenses to focus on as they progress into a difficult ACC schedule.
The nature of Lamar Jackson’s game will always result in huge passing and rushing numbers. This is something that defenses focused on last season, which resulted in a shaky ending to the season as the Cardinals fell out of playoff contention. With Malik Williams beginning to produce big numbers, defenses will have to put some level of focus on Louisville’s backfield. This is exactly what the Cardinals need if they want to defeat teams like Clemson and Florida State.
Lamar is going to post big numbers against any defense, but that didn’t always prove to result in victories last season. With an entire offseason to gameplan for a player of Jackson’s ability, don’t expect this to change this season. The Cardinals will need to have the luxury of relying on their backfield, especially as they take on Clemson this weekend. Clemson only allowed 38 total rushing yards against an impressive Auburn team. They have been focusing on Lamar Jackson’s game in preparation, so the Cards will need a big game from Williams to overcome the stout defense. Malik Williams will be looking to continue his production as the Cardinals face the number three team in the country.