Underdog Louisville beats No. 4 Florida in Sugar Bowl | College football
Louisville, a 14-point underdog, knocked off fourth-ranked Florida 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl.
The Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS — Louisville safety Calvin Pryor predicted the Cardinals would "shock the world" against Florida in the Sugar Bowl.
Brave words that he and teammates backed up from start to finish.
Terell Floyd returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown on the first play, dual-threat quarterback Teddy Bridgewater directed a handful of scoring drives and No. 22 Louisville stunned the fourth-ranked Gators 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night.
"They kind of thought we were going to come in and lay down and give them the game," Floyd said. "But Coach (Charlie) Strong always preaches that we're better than any team in the nation if we come out and play hard."
Shaking off an early hit that flattened him and knocked off his helmet, Bridgewater was 20 of 32 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns against the Gators, who were listed as 14-point favorites. Among his throws was a pinpoint, 15-yard timing toss DeVante Parker grabbed as he touched one foot down in the corner of the end zone.
His other scoring strike went to Damian Copeland from 19 yards one play after a surprise onside kick by the Gators had backfired badly.
"I looked at what did and didn't work for quarterbacks during the regular season," said Bridgewater, voted the game's outstanding player. "They faced guys forcing throws ... and Coach tells me, 'No capes on your back or 'S' on your chest, take what the defense gives you.' That's what I took. Film study was vital."
Jeremy Wright had a short touchdown run that gave the Cardinals a 14-0 lead from which the Gators never recovered.
By the end, the chant, "Charlie, Charlie!" — for third-year Louisville coach Strong, a former defensive coordinator for the Gators — echoed from some sections of the Superdome.
Big East squad Louisville and Southeastern Conference power Florida each finished at 11-2.
"I look at this performance tonight, and I sometimes wonder, 'Why didn't we do this the whole season?' " Strong said.
Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel, who had been intercepted a mere three times all season, turned the ball over three times on two interceptions — both tipped passes — and a fumble. He finished 16 of 29 for 175 yards.
Down 33-10 midway through the fourth period, Florida tried to rally. Andre Debose scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and Driskel threw a TD pass to tight end Kent Taylor with 2:13 left. But when Louisville defenders piled on Driskel to thwart the two-point conversion try, the game was essentially over.
"We got outcoached and outplayed," Florida coach Will Muschamp said.