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Gutsy Bridgewater helps Louisville grab share of Big East title, BCS berth

Louisville v Rutgers Getty Images

Tonight’s game between Louisville and Rutgers was jokingly dubbed the “ACC vs Big Ten Challenge” thanks to future conference affiliations, but the Cardinals came away with this year’s Big East title.

Louisville knocked off Rutgers 20-17 to grab a share of the Big East title and a likely trip to either the Orange Bowl or Sugar Bowl. Rutgers and Syracuse also share the Big East title and Cincinnati can make it a four-way tie with a win over UConn this weekend. However, the BCS representative will be the Big East team with the highest ranking. That’s expected to be Louisville.

It initially appeared as though the BCS bid would go to the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers had a 14-3 lead over Louisville at the half thanks to a pair of long touchdown passes from quarterback Gary Nova to Brandon Coleman and Mark Harrison. But RU’s offense couldn’t replicate the big plays in the second half and receiver Tim Wright dropped some passes that otherwise would have gone for big plays.

And then there was Kyle Flood‘s fake field goal call that went for a touchdown, but was called back because of an ineligible player downfield. Rutgers then elected to punt instead and Louisville drove 90 yards on 14 plays to score a touchdown on the very next drive.

We noted at the beginning of the game that UL quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would not start because of wrist and ankle injuries he suffered against UConn last week, but did Bridgewater deliver a gutsy performance. Visibly hurting, Bridgewater still threw for 263 yards and a pair of scores. The sophomore was unable to step into throws causing some passes to float high, and limped off the field after every drive. Sharing playing time with Will Stein seemed like a bizarre move at the start of the game considering what was on the line, but even one play off gave Bridgewater a little relief.

Bridgewater even got a shout-out from Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

It was a gritty showing by Louisville, especially after dropping the last two games. And now the preseason Big East favorites will likely be back in the BCS for the first time since the 2007 Orange Bowl.

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12 Responses to “Gutsy Bridgewater helps Louisville grab share of Big East title, BCS berth”
  1. samurai3939 says: Nov 29, 2012 11:29 PM

    Justice is served. No way Rutgers deserved a BCS bid.

  2. scalpemseminoles says: Nov 30, 2012 12:41 AM

    Samurai3939:
    Yes, justice is served because Louisville totally deserved one…

    Not.

  3. redrifle14 says: Nov 30, 2012 2:35 AM

    The “Little” East should be stripped of it’s automatic BCS bid. Louisville was bad this yr. I don’t care what the record states, this team is terrible and played against no one all yr. If Louisville played today against ‘Bama or ND or UGA, then they would get blown out by 40 pts… This is a complete joke!

  4. dko83 says: Nov 30, 2012 2:40 AM

    You’re a complete joke as you have no idea what you’re talking about.

  5. 35longmiles says: Nov 30, 2012 6:15 AM

    But wasn’t Bridge all []_[] during his recruitment? Oh that’s right, he committed and then told you rudderless losers to go pound sand. Warms my heart.

    Suck it Miami.

  6. handsofsweed says: Nov 30, 2012 6:49 AM

    No way, dko83. He knows exactly what he’s talking about. Rutgers was physically mauled on their own field by Kent State this year. As in, Kent ran between the tackles at will and also foced 6-7 turnovers. I don’t hate Rutgers at all, either, but facts are facts.

  7. floridacock says: Nov 30, 2012 8:02 AM

    Good send off for the Cards. But the competition in the bowl may be more than they can handle. Florida in the Sugar Bowl? Could get embarrassing.

  8. kountryking says: Nov 30, 2012 9:12 AM

    Rutgers has a long history of not being able to close games or seasons. I’m disgusted and I’m an alum. You don’t win championships with bonehead broken plays. I’m hurting this morning but I have to congratulate Louisville for being the better team. I still don’t understand how Rutgers could get blown out by Pittsburg.

  9. florida727 says: Nov 30, 2012 9:46 AM

    Look, I don’t mean to be offensive, but face it, the Big East sucks at football, comparatively speaking. Great basketball conference. Football? Not so much. If Louisville plays Florida in the Sugar Bowl, it will be a blowout. Remember the UNDEFEATED Cincinnati team everyone thought was being screwed out of a shot at the national championship game?

    Florida 51-24 (and 14 of those points came in the last 10 minutes with all the UF starters already celebrating on the sidelines). Tebow threw for 482 yards and the total offense racked up 659 yards. Cincinnati’s vaunted offense? 246 total yards. Remember, that was the year Tony Pike was supposed to be the second coming of Joe Montana.

    No Big East team will ever face a top-notch defense like what the SEC puts on the field. They can’t match their size, or especially their speed. You’ll see. Congratulations on getting there. You won’t want to watch though if that’s the matchup.

  10. thegamecocker says: Nov 30, 2012 10:35 AM

    @florida727

    Just to put some “balance” to your post, Cincy’s HC at that time, Brian Kelly, bolted for ND to begin the recruiting campaign and left a very good Cincy team in an emotional state of flux. I agree that U. of Fla was probably better team, but without Kelly calling the shots, the Bearcats folded.

    The SEC plays great defense…no issue with that. But Rutgers went to “Fayatte-nam” this season and took out the Razorbacks. So a Big East team can stay on the field with a SEC team. Hell, even Buffalo gave Georgia a game this season between the hedges; and Towson St. went to LSU in Death Valley and stayed with them for most of the game.

    I was at last nights game and Rutgers started well. Two long TD passes putting them up 14-3 at the half. But then Charlie Strong started working his magic inserting Will Stein on obvious running plays and Teddy Bridgewater on passing plays. L’ville goes on a 90 yard drive after RU TD was called back. Instead of trying a long FG, RU decides to punt. Big error in judgment as that set-off momentum swing and 90 yd TD drive. After TD, RU fumbles ensuing kick-off and Bridgewater hits receiver who made great catch. The ‘Ville up 17-14 in a matter of :14 seconds. Rutgers gets ball…does dik…punts. Interception by RU. FG ties it up 17-17. RU’s TIm Wright dropped a ball with no one within 10 yards of him at 10 yard line; then he let’s a ball go off his hands that becomes a interception and leads to winning FG by L’ville. Then Nova throws to NO ONE, ball gets picked. Game over – RU to minor bowl. It ended what should have been a watershed moment for Rutgers! I’M PISSED…T-B-CONTINUED

  11. thegamecocker says: Nov 30, 2012 10:48 AM

    @ COACH FLOOD:

    .Why have you benched Chas Dodd all G-D season! If you would have brought in a “reliever” during Kent State game, MAYBE, just MAYBE Dodd could have done something instead of holding a clipboard all season! Nova is still immature and still makes bonehead plays and YOU KNOW IT! Look at the Pitt game: you didn’t allow him to throw when we were deep in our territory! You continued to call running plays instead and Pitt knew it / stopped it!

    . Dodd is a MUCH BETTER SCRAMBLER than Nova! He is faster and more elusive. Perhaps you saw what Will Stein did last evening in combination with Bridgewater. They kept our great Defense off balance and we became tired! Maybe if you employed that tactic, your team would be heading to the Orange or Sugar Bowl instead of the G-D BELK BOWL!!! Or Russell Bowl!

    . Savon Huggins runs inside the tackles well and is a little bigger back than Jawan Jamison. Jawan obviously was not 100% last night! Where the hell was Savon Huggins? Why didn’t you play him?

    . I like you Coach Flood…I really do. But how about being a tad more flexible with your personnel. BTW, I’m not traveling to the Belk Bowl or the Russell Bowl over the X-mas Holiday. You go and have fun! I would have gone to the Sugar or Orange Bowl….learn from this and remeber: “Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it”.

  12. pastabelly says: Nov 30, 2012 11:06 AM

    Louisville should enjoy this BCS berth. As bad as the ACC has been, with VT and FSU in the ACC, Louisville will have to contend with much stronger schools than Rutgers and UConn to get to a BCS bowl.

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