Having the best defense in the nation according to statistics doesn’t really hurt, enabling Louisville to remain undefeated and on pace to make a big problem in the BCS standings by the end of the season, and Teddy Bridgewater to play less than brilliantly for once.
The Cardinals jumped to an early lead they had no problem protecting, as they picked off the mistake-prone Gary Nove four times, twice in the second quarter and twice in the fourth, helping Teddy Bridgewater overcome his own turnover en route to a 24-10 win, improving to 6-0 this season and possibly overcoming the toughest opponent they’re going to see all season in an uncharacteristic game to this rivalry, ending with a two-touchdown margin.
Bridgewater finished with 21-of-31 for 310 yards, throwing two touchdown passes and an interception, coming in the second quarter as Rutgers were trying to make a comeback from 0-17 down. However, Gary Nova was picked off on the very next drive just before half time, and any momentum the Scarlet Knight were hoping to carry into the second half evaporated against the excellent Louisville defense, which is allowing only 7.3 points per game this season.
We knew it was going to be aggressive, so we knew we had to cover on the back down. When our offense struggles we just want to go out there do our best and get the ball back for them.
The win over Rutgers means Louisville now have very little opposition to worry about until the end of the season. UCF might be tricky, but that game is at home. Houston might also pose a problem, but that’s another home game and the Cougars have had a very easy schedule so far, even easier than Louiville’s. Then comes the Keg of Nails, which is always a tough outing, but the Bearcats have lost to South Florida this season, making them less than threatening opposition, and making it an excellent opportunity for Louisville to beat them in Cincinnati for the first time since 2007.
Louisville got some big help from the running game, which included Senorise Perry running 104 yards on only 13 carries, scoring a touchdown. However, Bridgewater did get a few more claims to fame at the end of the game, after Nova was picked off for the fourth time. It gave Bridgewater a short field to work with (on the Lousiville 40), and found Eli Rogers for the touchdown that put any doubts about the Cardinals winning the game to rest.
It was a decent performance. I left a couple of throws on the field. I battled adversity, but it was a decent performance. It was a great team effort, the guys laid it all on the line.
This isn’t going to be a Heisman season for Bridgewater, as the Cardinals are too far away from the mainstream attention, while Bridgewater isn’t the kind of quarter to make you go wow. He’s simply very good, and doesn’t let the few mistakes he makes get to him, which might mean more for his pro prospects than his chances to battle it out with Johnny Manziel, Marcus Mariota and others for the award.
But an undefeated season is probably a much bigger deal in any case, even with the weak schedule Louisville play before they depart the AAC and move on to the ACC. Bridgewater is en route to that achievement, knowing he doesn’t have that much pressure on him playing next to a defensive unit strong enough to carry him when he needs it.