January 2, 2013
Game Day - Cards face Gators in Sugar Bowl
Florida Gators v. Louisville Cardinals
AllState Sugar Bowl
Wednesday, January 2nd
8:30 p.m. ET
Mercedes-Benz Superdome (72,589)
New Orleans, LA
Radio: WHAS (840 AM)
No. 18 Louisville will face No. 4 Florida in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl on Wednesday, January 2, 201, at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La. The Cardinals will be making their first appearance in the Sugar Bowl and their second BCS appearance in school history, while Florida is making the trip to a BCS game for the seventh time in school history.
The Cardinals clinched their Big East title and a trip to the Sugar Bowl with a 20-17 win over Rutgers. Redshirt freshman John Wallace booted a 29-yard field goal with 1:41 remaining in the game to give the Cardinals their 10th win of the year. The Gators closed the regular season with an impressive 37-26 win over Florida State.
The game will be televised on ESPN with Sean McDonough on play-by-play, Chris Spielman as the color commentator and Quint Kessenich as the sideline reporter. Paul Rogers, Joe Tronzo and Doug Ormay will handle the action on the Louisville Radio Network.
This will be the third meeting between the Cardinals and Gators and the first in a bowl game. Florida is 2-0 all-time against the Cardinals in the series that dates back to 1980. Florida defeated Louisville 13-0 in Gainesville in 1980 and 31-17 at Florida in 1992.
Head Coach Charlie Strong
Louisville head coach Charlie Strong (Central Arkansas '83) is in his third season with the Cardinals. Named the school's 21st head coach on Dec. 9, 2009 Strong has complied a 24-14 record at Louisville while leading the Cardinals to back-to-back BIG EAST titles and three-straight bowl games. Strong led the Cardinals to consecutive 7-6 records in 2010 and 2011 before his 10-2 season this year. Strong came to Louisville after 14 years at Florida where he won a pair of national titles in 2006 and 2008. He had four different stints with the Gators. He served on the staff from 2003-09; 1991-94; 1988-89; and 1983. He was the defensive coordinator at Florida from 2003-09.
Head Coach Will Muschamp
Florida head coach Will Muschamp (Georgia '94) is 18-7 in his second season as head coach at Florida. He guided the Gators to a 7-6 mark in his first year and 11-1 in 2012. Muschamp came to UF after being the coach-inwaiting and defensive coordinator at the University of Texas since November 2008. He owns 16 years of coaching experience with him, including 12 years in the SEC, eight as a coach and four as a player at Georgia. Muschamp has also served as defensive coordinator at Auburn (2006-07) and LSU (2002-04); he was LSU's linebackers coach in 2001) and was a finalist for the 2007 Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach.
AllState Sugar Bowl
Two programs with energized fan bases, two terrific head coaches, two top 25 teams and two squads with 10 or more wins highlight the matchup between No. 4 Florida and No. 18 Louisville in the 2013 Allstate Sugar Bowl. Gearing up to meet for the first time in the postseason and just the third time overall, Louisville and Florida will square off on Jan. 2 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Bowling with the Cardinals
Louisville has made 16 bowl appearances all-time with 12 of those coming in the last 15 seasons, heading into the Sugar Bowl. The Cardinals sport a 7-8-1 record in bowl games and are 1-1 under head coach Charlie Strong.
The Sugar Bowl will be the 13th different bowl games that the Cardinals have appeared in during their school history. All told, Louisville has traveled to bowl games in 11 different states with Florida (3) and Tennessee (3) being the most frequent destinations.
In the latest polls released on Dec. 2, Louisville stands at 22nd in the Associated Press and 18th in the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Cardinals finished 21st in the final BCS standings.
With the dramatic 20-17 win over Rutgers, the Cards improved their record to 10-2 overall and 5-2 in Big East Conference. The 10 wins were the most since the 2006 team won the Orange Bowl with a school-best 12-1 mark.
Louisville won 10 games for the fifth time in school history and four have come since 2000. Louisville went 10-1 in 1990 and won the Fiesta Bowl. In 2001, the Cardinals produced an 11-2 campaign that was culminated with a 28-10 victory over BYU in the Liberty Bowl. The 2004 squad was 11-1 and defeated Boise State 44-40 in the Liberty Bowl, while the 2006 squad went 12-1 and defeated Wake Forest in the Orange Bowl.
A Look at the Gators
Florida, who finished third in the BCS rankings, will make its ninth Sugar Bowl appearance, tied for the third-most in history. Florida is 3-5 in its eight previous Sugar Bowl appearances, which most recently included a 51-24 win over Cincinnati in the 2010 game and also included a 52-20 victory over Florida State for the 1997 National Championship (1996 season).
The Gators' first Sugar Bowl appearance was in the 1966 Sugar Bowl, a 20-18 loss to Missouri, despite an MVP-performance by quarterback Steve Spurrier.
UF has claimed a school-record four-consecutive bowls and will be making its eighthconsecutive January bowl appearance, the longest active streak in the nation. In addition, the Gators will be appearing in a BCS Bowl for the seventh time, tops in the SEC and tied for the third-best total nationally.
Florida's total of five BCS Bowl wins is tied for the top total in the nation and with a victory it will have the top total in the nation in all-time BCS wins. UF will be making its 40th bowl appearance.
Will Muschamp is the only first time head coach at a BCS-conference school to win 11 regular-season games in his second season after finishing .500 or worse the previous regular season in records back to 1996. Florida improved from a 6-6 regular season in 2011 to an 11-1 regular season in 2012.
The five-game turnaround in the regular season marked the biggest one-year leap for the program in 32 years (0-10-1 in 1979, 7-4 regular season in 1980). The Gators have hung their hat on defense this season, limiting the opposition to 283.4 yards of total offense.
Florida is stout against the pass as the Gators have registered 19 interceptions this season led by four from Matt Elam. The Gators have allowed 155 points this season, an average of 12.9 points per game.
On the offensive side of the ball, running back Mike Gillislee is one of the top runners in the country, averaging 92.0 yards per game, while quarterback Jeff Driskel has been solid, throwing for 1,471 yards and 11 touchdowns, while tossing just three interceptions. Florida has punished opponents on the ground, averaging 194.5 yards per game and have tallied 21 scores on the ground.
LOUISVILLE - FLORIDA CONNECTIONS
Louisville head coach Charlie Strong coached at Florida on four different occasions from 1983-84, 1988-89, 1991-94 and 2003-09.
Louisville defensive coordinator Vance Bedford coached at Florida from 2008-09.
Louisville running backs coach and special teams coordinator Kenny Carter also coached at Florida from 2008-09.
Florida running backs coach Brian White coached with Strong, Bedford and Carter in 2009.
Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt and Florida wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill worked together at Miami from 2008-09.
Louisville football strength and conditioning coach Pat Moorer was a linebacker for the Gators from 1986-89. He was the SEC Freshman of the Year in 1986, led Florida in tackles in 1988-89 and was the team captain as a senior. Moorer also worked at Florida from 1992-97.
Louisville offensive lineman Alex Kupper, wide receiver Scott Radcliff, and quarterback Will Stein attended Trinity High School as did Florida offensive lineman Sam Robey.
Louisville linebacker James Burgess and defensive lineman Pedro Sibiea attended Homestead High School as did Florida linebacker Darrin Kitchens.
Louisville defensive lineman Jamaine Brooks and wide receivers Damian Copeland and Andrell Smith attended Palmetto High School as did Florida defensive lineman Kedric Johnson.
Louisville wide receiver Jarrett Davis and Florida defensive lineman Quinteze Williams both attended Sandy Creek High School.
Louisville wide receiver Robert Clark and tight end Gerald Christian both attended Florida before transferring to Louisville and are sitting out this year.
An Elite Club
Of the 22 FBS head coaching hires in 2010 Charlie Strong is one of three to lead his program to three straight bowl games joining Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly. Of those same 22 FBS head coaching hires from 2010, only three have more wins in their first three seasons than Strong. Fisher, Kelly and USC's Lane Kiffin have all won more games than Strong in their first three years at their current schools.
Louisville and the SEC
The Cardinals will be playing their 48th game against a member from the Southeastern Conference when the Cardinals face the Gators of Florida.
Prior to the Sugar Bowl, the Cardinals last faced an SEC team when Louisville defeated Kentucky 32-14 to open the 2012 season.
All-time, the Cardinals are 12-34-1 against SEC squads and have met only one in a bowl game. Louisville defeated Alabama in the 1991 Fiesta Bowl. Louisville doesn't have a winning record against any teams from the SEC.
Five Cardinals have played this fall as graduate students. Offensive tackle Alex Kupper, linebacker Daniel Brown, quarterback Will Stein, fullback Nick Heuser and tight end Nate Nord have already received their undergraduate degrees. Stein, Kupper and Heuser are enrolled in Louisville's MBA program.
Cornerback Adrian Bushell, safety Zed Evans, safety, center Mario Benavides, defensive back Titus Teague, linebacker Daniel Brown, running back Jeremy Wright and defensive tackle Roy Philon all graduated in December.
Bridgewater Efficient in the Passing Game
Thanks to a 69.0-percent completion percentage and 161.62 passing efficiency this season, teams must certainly be on the lookout for Teddy Bridgewater in the passing game. Bridgewater currently ranks fifth in school history with 458 career completions and is already eighth with 5,581 yards. He is first all-time in career completion percentage, completing 67.1 percent of his throws.
Bridgewater's pass efficiency rating this season ranks eighth in the country and he is one of three underclassmen in the top 10. Bridgewater is one of only nine quarterbacks in the country with a rating of over 160.0.
Wright and Lamb Take Over Running Back Duties
Due to the fact that leading rusher Senorise Perry was lost for the season to a knee injury, the Cardinals will rely on junior Jeremy Wright and red-shirt freshman Corvin Lamb. Wright has rushed a team-high 186 times for 740 yards and nine touchdowns, while Lamb has carried 11 times for 45 yards and a touchdown.
Wright has two three-yards rushing games, going for 105 yards and three touchdowns versus Kentucky, 114 yards and one score versus North Carolina, and 100 yards and one score against Temple.
Wright is one of the team's top receivers, catching 38 passes for 306 yards and one touchdown. He caught a career-best nine passes for 72 yards in the loss to Connecticut. Lamb caught one pass and raced 53 yards for a touchdown in a loss to Syracuse on Nov. 10.
Lamb saw the most action of his career in the backfield in the 20-17 win over Rutgers. Lamb established new career-bests with six rushes for 37 yards, including a career-long run of 16 yards.
Cardinals to Face Nation's Best Pass Defense
The Cardinals might have one of the nation's best quarterbacks in sophomore Teddy Bridgewater, but he and the Cardinals will face a huge challenge against Florida in the Sugar Bowl. The Gators have the nation's top-ranked pass efficiency defense. Florida is allowing 186.4 yards through the air and have given up just five touchdown passes.
Bridgewater is completing 69.0 of his throws this year and will face a Florida defense that allows a 51.2 completion percentage and are tied for sixth in the country with 19 interceptions.
The Cardinals, who are averaging 298.6 yards through the air, will face a defense that hasn't allowed a 300-yard passer all season and a high of 257 yards versus Tennessee.
Cardinals Have to Create More Turnovers
The Cardinals rank 59th in the nation in turnovers forced through the first 12games. Louisville has created 12 fumbles and nine interceptions this year after notching two interceptions in the win over Rutgers. The Cardinals failed to turnover the Orange in the 45-26 loss on Nov. 10. It was the second time this year that they failed to create a turnover.
Louisville ranks 32nd in the nation in fumbles recovered. The Cardinals have forced 13 turnovers over the last seven games.
Strength vs. Weakness
The Cardinals will face one of the nation's better rushing offenses when they face the Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl. The Gators enter postseason play with the 35th-best rushing offense in the nation, averaging 194.5 yards per game. The Gators have rushed for better than 200 yards in six games, including a season-high versus Tennessee.
The Cardinals rank 52nd in the country against the run, yielding 151.1 yards per game. They have given up more than 190 yards in five games this year, including 278 in a loss to Syracuse.
The Gators average 4.6 yards per carry, while the Cardinals' defense allows 4.3 yards a carry.
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