Louisville Cardinals vs. Florida Gators
Tip-off: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 – 8:30 PM ET
Superdome, NEW ORLEANS, LA
YouWager line movers have placed the Louisville Cardinals as the clear underdog in the Sugar Bowl, however Louisville already has one major win over an SEC team this postseason.
Head coach Charlie Strong has decided to stay with Louisville which sets up an intriguing reunion tonight in New Orleans.
Strong leads No. 22 Cardinals against the fourth-ranked Florida Gators, who are looking for their fifth straight victory in a BCS bowl.
Strong’s success with the Cardinals (10-2) made him one of the hot names in 2012’s coaching carousel, but he turned down an offer from the Tennessee Volunteers to stay with Louisville, a team that’s moving from the Big East to the ACC in 2014.
Strong assisted the Gators (11-1) to stay among the nation’s best programs in recent years. He’s had four different stints on the Florida’s staff, most significantly running their defense from 2003-09 — a stretch that included a pair of BCS titles.
The Cardinals didn’t take a direct path to this game, starting 9-0 before dropping back-to-back contests versus the Syracuse Orange and the Connecticut Huskies. Louisville then fell behind 14-3 at halftime against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the regular-season finale Nov. 29, but they recovered to win 20-17 to earn a share of the Big East title and the conference’s BCS bid.
Teddy Bridgewater will surely benefit from a month off . The Big East offensive player of the year completed 69.0 percent of his passes for 3,452 yards and 25 touchdowns, but he didn’t start and couldn’t take snaps under center against the Scarlet Knights due to a broken wrist and a sore ankle.
That didn’t stop the Gators native from coming off the bench and going 20 of 28 for 263 yards and a pair of TDs to rally Louisville.
However, Florida’s coach Will Muschamp’s defense could prove to be a challenge unlike anything Bridgewater has seen.
The Gators haven’t asked too much of sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel, who has averaged 19.6 pass attempts for 133.7 yards. His mistakes have been few, throwing only three interceptions along with 11 TDs.
Florida won both previous college football games against the Cardinals in 1980 and 1992, both in Gainesville.