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December 6, 2013
Teddy's all-heart moment Heisman worthy
Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater had his Heisman moment. Unfortunately it came in the last quarter of the last game of the regular season - too late for the Cardinal star to be on the podium in New York City.
"I told him that was SportsCenter, those were Heisman plays, top 10 whatever you want to call it" linebacker Preston Brown said. "Those were big plays right there. Those were Heisman moments. That's what you see on TV. It's definitely one of the greatest plays of the year."
And sure enough, Bridgewater's two most spectacular plays were combined to make the No. 1 play on ESPN's SportsCenter Thursday. Bridgewater's profile - already high as the likely top quarterback taken in the 2014 NFL Draft - was raised Thursday night with gritty, gutty play in the fourth quarter to lead Louisville to an overtime win over Cincinnati.
On one play, Bridgewater avoided Cincinnati's pass rush, scrambled to the sideline, stiff-armed a defender, spun to avoid a taken and backed his way into a 14-yard first down run on 4th and 12.
On another, he spun out of the pocket, backpedalled away from a Bearcat defender and chucked the ball side-armed 30 yards to Damian Copeland for a touchdown.
It was vintage Teddy Bridgewater in a time when Louisville needed him most. It didn't have the injury intrigue of last season's Louisville-Rutgers game, but it was a better overall performance against a better overall team.
Based on just the first half at Cincinnati, it wouldn't have been crazy to question the hype surrounding Bridgewater. But any lingering questions about Bridgewater's ability were wiped clean and then some in the second half.
His game stats from Cincinnati aren't overly impressive - 23 of 37 for 255 yards and three touchdowns and one INT - but anyone who watched that game came away wowed with Touchdown Teddy.
At this point it is safe to assume Bridgewater won't be invited to New York City for the Heisman ceremony. But he finished the regular season with 3,523 yards passing, 28 touchdowns, a 169.7 passer rating. He completed 70.2 of his passes this season with just one percent of his 382 passes intercepted.
After the emotional overtime win, Bridgewater spoke with ESPN then ran to the sideline to hug his mother. The two shared a long hug and she kissed both of his cheeks as she expressed how proud she was of him.
After his Heisman moment, Bridgewater had a Hallmark moment.