Column: Cardinals win 2013 Sugar Bowl with heart

By on January 15, 2013
The University of Louisville football team capped off a 10-2 regular season when they defeated the #3 University of Florida 33-23 on Jan. 2 in the Sugar Bowl, held in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was the second BCS Bowl game victory in the school history, the team returns almost all of its starters.

The University of Louisville football team capped off a 10-2 regular season when they defeated the #3 University of Florida 33-23 on Jan. 2 in the Sugar Bowl, held in New Orleans, Louisiana. It was the second BCS Bowl game victory in the school history, the team returns almost all of its starters.

By Austin Lassell–

This year’s 2013 Sugar Bowl was one which the University of Florida will find hard to forget, when a seemingly non-issue team took them by storm. It should have been an easy victory for the University of Florida, a nationally third ranked SEC football team, but something deeper was at play, which the Gators could not surmount.  Louisville has had a great season, but certainly not an uneventful one. The season-ending injury of key running back Senorise Perry during a painful loss to Syracuse, the injury of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater during a triple over time loss to UConn, and the uncertainty of Charlie Strong’s decision in his University of Tennessee coaching offer are but are a few examples of the many emotional hurdles which Louisville and its fans have overcome this season. But now the results are in, and Louisville’s heart is verifiably in the game.

Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater led the Cardinals throughout the entire season, earning him the Big East offensive player of the year honors. This 266 passing yards and two touchdowns in the Sugar Bowl won him the games’ MVP.

At this year’s Sugar Bowl, Louisville showed that it was the rankings that were the non-issue. The vivacious chants of Louisville’s fans which carried all down Bourbon Street were not easily matched by the Gator’s fans, if at all. That same spirit certainly held true during the game itself, throughout which the Louisville crowd remained loud and alive the entire night. Even after the Gators scored a touchdown off a hundred yard kick return, the Florida fans just didn’t seem quite as excited as the Louisville fans were even after the Cards scored a post-touchdown field goal. The Cardinals seemed to show more dynamism than the Gators, not brushing by in a narrow margin of victory, but remaining in charge the entire game.

Florida may have looked strong on paper, but their hearts were not as ready as Louisville’s that night. U of L owned the game and won it with the heart that a Strong team has.

sports@louisvillecardinal.com
Photos: Austin Lassell/The Louisville Cardinal

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