In what was a pretty lopsided upset, the #21 Louisville Cardinals beat the #3 Florida Gators 33-23.
Charlie Strong’s Cardinals came out firing on all cylinders, scoring on an interception 15 seconds into the first quarter and an 83 yard drive with 6:24 left in the 1st and never looked back.
The Cardinals bottled up the Florida rushing offense that had led the Gators to an 11 – 1 season and were able to capitalize on mistakes made by quarterback Jeff Driskel. Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater finished the game 20 of 32 for 266 yards, 2 touchdowns, and 1 interception while Florida’s Driskel had 175 yards, 1 touchdown, and two interceptions. The Cardinals put up 336 yards of offense on the 5th ranked Florida defense that had been allowing on average a total of 283 yards per game.
After the game, Bridgewater, who ESPN had already started hyping as a Heisman contender for next season, commented that he had focused on film of what other quarterbacks had done against the Gators to move the ball on them.
“I looked at what did and didn’t work for quarterbacks during the regular season,” said Bridgewater, picked as the game’s top player. “They faced guys forcing throws … and coach tells me, `No capes on your back or ‘S’ on your chest, take what the defense give you.’ That’s what I took. Film study was vital.”
Florida coach Will Muschamp, in only his second season with the Gators, had them one win against Georgia and an SEC Championship game away from the BCS title game commented that he had been out coached.
“We got out coached and outplayed,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “That’s what I told the football team. That’s the bottom line.”
Louisville finished the season with 11 wins, their first 11 win season since winning 12 in 2006. Florida finished with 11 wins also, the first time since 2009 when they beat Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl to finish 13 – 1.
Florida will lose star defensive players safety Matt Elam and defensive end Sharrif Floyd to the draft as both players commented that they will forgo their senior seasons.
Elam finished second on the team with 65 tackles, and also had 4 interceptions and 5 pass break-ups. Floyd finished 5th on the team in tackles with 41 and led the team in tackles for loss.