Driskel, Gators upset by Louisville 33-23 in Sugar

Florida tight end Omarius Hines (20) is stopped by Louisville linebacker Preston Brown (2) in the first half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Florida tight end Omarius Hines (20) is stopped by Louisville linebacker Preston Brown (2) in the first half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel, right, and Florida quarterback Christian Provancha (13) react near the end of a 33-23 loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel, right, and Florida quarterback Christian Provancha (13) react near the end of a 33-23 loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Florida head coach Will Muschamp aruges a call in the second half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game against Louisville on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Florida head coach Will Muschamp aruges a call in the second half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game against Louisville on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jeff Driskel's first pass of the Sugar Bowl was intercepted and returned 38 yards for a touchdown.

It never got much better for heavily favored Florida in what was supposed to be the crowning game in a bounce-back season.

The fourth-ranked Gators, a two-touchdown favorite over No. 22 Louisville, fell behind by 14 points midway through the first quarter and trailed by double digits the rest of the way, losing 33-23 on Wednesday night.

"We got outcoached and outplayed," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "That's what I told the team. That's the bottom line."

Florida looked more like the team that dropped 11 games combined in 2010 and '11 than the one that lost only once in 2012. The Gators (11-2) were no match for the inspired Cardinals (11-2) and former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, who left to become Louisville head coach in 2010.

"We've had a great year," Muschamp said. "We're building something here. We still did a lot of positive things this season. Obviously this is a sour day and a sour note, and I apologize to our fans and the university."

Florida was beaten in almost every way possible. After never trailing by more than 10 points in their first 12 games, the Gators trailed Louisville by more than that for all but the first eight minutes and the last 2:13

The Gators could not slow down Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for 266 yards and two TDs against the nation's No. 1 pass efficiency defense. In the first half alone, Louisville converted five of six third downs and even made first downs on second-and-16 and second-and-15.

"I looked at what did and didn't work for quarterbacks (against Florida) during the regular season," Bridgewater said. "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.'"

Florida did not convert its first third down until the fourth quarter.

Driskel, who had thrown three interceptions all year, tossed two picks, both on tipped passes. The second came in the Louisville end zone as Florida tried to rally in the fourth quarter, but he will remember the first one the longest.

His pass was slightly behind receiver Andre Debose, who tipped the ball right to Louisville cornerback Terell Floyd. Floyd raced 38 yards for a shocking TD.

"It was a flat defender read," he said. "I threw it behind him, he tried to make a play on it and tipped it right to the guy. It's unfortunate to start the game like that, but the corner made a good play."

Losing on the scoreboard, the Gators also lost their composure. At the end of a failed onside kick to start the second half, cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy and running back Chris Johnson were flagged for personal fouls (Johnson was ejected), moving the ball to the Florida 19 before Louisville took a snap.

On the next play, Bridgewater threw his second touchdown pass to give the Cardinals a 30-10 lead — more points than the Gators had allowed in any game this year.

"We felt like it was there," Muschamp said of the decision to try for the onside kick. "We hit it too hard. We game-planned it and felt good about it. We wanted to steal a possession at the start of the second half. We had struggled defensively in the first half and felt you try to gain some momentum in the game."

Florida slipped to 5-2 in BCS bowl games. The Gators' other loss came to Miami in the 2001 Sugar Bowl.

"We did have a great year with a lot of wins," Driskel said. "But at the end of day we didn't come through and we didn't make enough plays."

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Comments » 7

UT4prez writes:

What? No comments? As much as I can't stand the Gators, Vol fans please remember that we would have loved to have been where the Gators were tonight. No need to be disrespectful. At least not right off the bat. Wait until the Gator fans give you a reason. It won't take long! Ha!

The Cards were jacked for the game and simply played great. UF looked ready. UL just played better. I do believe UF is overrated at 3 and thought so before the game. Don't get me wrong. They deserved the ranking. I just don't think they are one of the best 3 teams in the country. Top 15, no doubt. Top 5, no. I give mad love to Muschamp. Great year. See you guys on the bball court!

lstbodeanvol writes:

where is titletroll lol congrats to Louisville for owning this game from kick off to finish :)

suggest_removal_4_all_troll_posts writes:

What a joke!

We all know that their fans are pathetic loser trolls that feel compelled to post here. We all know that their QBs are the laughing stock of the NFL. We all know they never went undefeated.

This is a new low -- a mediocre Big-East team destroying a heavily favored SEC team loaded with 5-star talent.

Florida fans have always been the disgrace of the SEC now the Gators embarrass the entire conference.

I cheer for every SEC team during the bowls except Florida - mostly because their fans are such losers - but this is a new low for the entire conference.

Congratulations Florida - you join USC as the Biggest Loser!!!!

Madkels writes:

in response to MOUNTAINofOKEMO:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I was thinking or a area near that, but that will work too.

auggievol writes:

in response to Madkels:

I was thinking or a area near that, but that will work too.

florida.

the taint of America...

and I live here. Unfortunately I'm 34 years old, not 84 years old. great golf, good fishing, umm, ok. thats all I've got.

auggievol writes:

in response to suggest_removal_4_all_troll_posts:

What a joke!

We all know that their fans are pathetic loser trolls that feel compelled to post here. We all know that their QBs are the laughing stock of the NFL. We all know they never went undefeated.

This is a new low -- a mediocre Big-East team destroying a heavily favored SEC team loaded with 5-star talent.

Florida fans have always been the disgrace of the SEC now the Gators embarrass the entire conference.

I cheer for every SEC team during the bowls except Florida - mostly because their fans are such losers - but this is a new low for the entire conference.

Congratulations Florida - you join USC as the Biggest Loser!!!!

What a great point. Its so easy to cheer for the SEC, unless its Florida. The campus is like a community college and their fans are the ones at the beach getting citations for open containers and lewd conduct while I have my kids playing in the ocean. Down here in St. Aug there seems to be some correlation with a gaydoor fan and bud light, chevrolet trucks with a lift on the front axle and a lowered rear axle, a confederate flag, and a general disregard for those around them. And I went to high school at Gibbs.

pomp_and_circumstance writes:

How bad was Fla. in this game? Their defence was as pathetic as anything the Vols showed this year. I thought nothing could get worse than that. But the lizards took it a step further and showed an offense that made the Vol offense look like the Bronco's. LMAO

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