Louisville upsets Florida 33-23 in Sugar Bowl

Louisville head coach Charlie Strong celebrates following a 33-23 win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in New Orleans.  (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

Louisville head coach Charlie Strong celebrates following a 33-23 win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Terell Floyd and the Louisville Cardinals gave the embattled Big East Conference at least one more triumphant night in a major bowl — and at the expense of a top team from the mighty SEC.

Floyd returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown on the first play, dual-threat quarterback Teddy Bridgewater directed a handful of scoring drives and No. 22 Louisville stunned the fourth-ranked Gators 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night.

"I can't speak for the whole Big East, but I can speak for Louisville and I think this means a lot for us," Floyd said. "We showed the world we can play with the best."

The Big East is in a transitional phase and losing some of its top football programs in the process. Boise State has recently backed out of its Big East commitment and Louisville has plans to join the ACC.

Even this year, the Big East wasn't getting much respect. Louisville, the league champion, was a two-touchdown underdog in the Sugar Bowl.

But by the end, the chant, "Charlie, Charlie!" echoed from sections of the Superdome occupied by red-clad Cardinals fans. It was their way of serenading third-year Louisville coach Charlie Strong, the former defensive coordinator for the Gators, who has elevated Cardinals football to new heights and recently turned down a chance to leave for the top job at Tennessee.

"I look at this performance tonight, and I sometimes wonder, 'Why didn't we do this the whole season,'" Strong said. "We said this at the beginning: We just take care of our job and do what we're supposed to do, don't worry about who we're playing."

Shaking off an early hit that flattened him and knocked off his helmet, Bridgewater was 20 of 32 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns. Among his throws was a pinpoint, 15-yard timing toss that DeVante Parker grabbed as he touched one foot down in the corner of the end zone.

"I looked at what did and didn't work for quarterbacks during the regular season," said Bridgewater, picked as the game's top player. "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.' That's what I took. Film study was vital."

His other scoring strike went to Damian Copeland from 19 yards one play after a surprise onside kick by the Gators backfired. Jeremy Wright had a short touchdown run that gave Louisville (11-2) a 14-0 lead the Gators couldn't overcome.

Florida (11-2) never trailed by more than 10 points this season. The defeat dropped SEC teams to 3-3 this bowl season, with Alabama, Texas A&M and Mississippi still to play.

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

Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel, who had thrown only three interceptions all season, turned the ball over three times on two interceptions — both tipped passes — and a fumble. He finished 16 of 29 for 175 yards.

Down 33-10 midway through the fourth period, Florida tried to rally. Andre Debose scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and Driskel threw a TD pass to tight end Kent Taylor with 2:13 left. But when Louisville defenders piled on Driskel to thwart the 2-point try, the game was essentially over.

Florida didn't score until Caleb Sturgis's 33-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

The Gators finally got in the end zone with a trick play in the closing seconds of the half. They changed personnel as if to kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 1, but lined up in a bizarre combination of swinging-gate and shotgun formations and handed off to Matt Jones.

The Gators tried to keep the momentum with a surprise onside kick to open the third quarter, but not only did Louisville recover, Florida's Chris Johnson was called for a personal foul and ejected for jabbing at Louisville's Zed Evans. That gave Louisville the ball on the Florida 19, from where Bridgewater needed one play to find Copeland for his score.

"We game-planned it and felt good about it," Muschamp said of the onside kick attempt. "We wanted to steal a possession at the start of the second half."

On the following kickoff, Evans cut down kick returner Loucheiz Purifoy with a vicious low, high-speed hit that shook Purifoy up. Soon after, Driskel was sacked hard from behind and stripped by safety Calvin Pryor, ending another Florida drive with a turnover.

"We had the right attitude, had the right mindset that we would go out and beat this team," Pryor said.

After Louisville native Muhammad Ali was on the field for the coin toss, the Cardinals quickly stung the Gators. Floyd, one of nearly three dozen Louisville players from Florida, made the play.

Driskel was looking for seldom-targeted Debose, who'd had only two catches all season.

"I threw it behind him, (he) tried to make a play on it, tipped it right to the guy," Driskel said. "Unfortunate to start the game like that."

When Louisville's offense got the ball later in the quarter, the Florida defense, ranked among the best in the nation this season, sought to intimidate the Cardinals with one heavy hit after another.

One blow by Jon Bostic knocked Bridgewater's helmet off moments after he'd floated an incomplete pass down the right sideline. Bostic was called for a personal foul, however, which seemed to get the Cardinals opening drive rolling. Later, Wright lost his helmet during a 3-yard gain and took another heavy hit before he went down.

Louisville kept coming.

B.J. Butler turned a short catch into a 23-yard gain down to the Florida 1. Then Wright punched it in to give the Cardinals an early two-TD lead over a team that finished third in the BCS standings, one spot too low to play for a national title in Miami.

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Comments » 190

JSmith525 writes:

na na na na, hey hey hey, good night. Couldn't happen to a better team. Come on Gator trolls, talk to me.... tell me all about it.....

Thermopyle writes:

Good to see justice served to the school with the dirtiest players and most obnoxious fans in the country. If not for Gator football, imagine all the extra prisons the state of Florida would need.

Louisville played with class and poise in the face of thugs and bullies.

MusChoke was partially right. He said UF was outcoached and outplayed. He failed to mention they were outclassed too. Chomp this.

Congrats to CCS and the Cardinals on a great victory.

JSmith525 writes:

in response to Thermopyle:

Good to see justice served to the school with the dirtiest players and most obnoxious fans in the country. If not for Gator football, imagine all the extra prisons the state of Florida would need.

Louisville played with class and poise in the face of thugs and bullies.

MusChoke was partially right. He said UF was outcoached and outplayed. He failed to mention they were outclassed too. Chomp this.

Congrats to CCS and the Cardinals on a great victory.

I am an SEC fan and I hope Bama wins another NC. But there is no way in hill that I would ever root for the "Classless Gators against anyone"

ashvol7 writes:

in response to Thermopyle:

Good to see justice served to the school with the dirtiest players and most obnoxious fans in the country. If not for Gator football, imagine all the extra prisons the state of Florida would need.

Louisville played with class and poise in the face of thugs and bullies.

MusChoke was partially right. He said UF was outcoached and outplayed. He failed to mention they were outclassed too. Chomp this.

Congrats to CCS and the Cardinals on a great victory.

I saw several helmet to helmet hits that was not called, I am surprised that Fla, didn't have more penalties than they did. Could it be that they were over rated or they didn't want to be there?

JSmith525 writes:

I am surprised that the Gator Trolls weren't on this site at 1am typing their troll phooey. NOT, LMAO

kyvol98 writes:

Will Deltacharlie now change his name to Louisvillecharlie?

JSmith525 writes:

in response to ashvol7:

I saw several helmet to helmet hits that was not called, I am surprised that Fla, didn't have more penalties than they did. Could it be that they were over rated or they didn't want to be there?

I saw cheap shot after cheap shot by the Gators that wasn't flagged. I think they came in thinking they had it won and the Cardinals just smacked them in the mouth. That first offensive play for the Gators that resulted in a TD for the Cardinals set the tone and the mighty Gators could not handle it... They just got a beatdown, which was great to see... All the BS I put up with this season from my Gator fan friends, all I can say is Karma is a wonderful thing, I wonder how many of them I'll hear from today, Maybe I should get on the phone and make some calls, lol. No I will not do that, we Vol fans have more class than that...

tgiles1944#654264 writes:

Florida looked out of shape and seem to have no clue in this game very poor coaching and preparation.

emailnodata (Inactive) writes:

You get judged by the company you keep.

LSU and UF have made UT look really bad...
Oh, wait.

Madkels writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is that the best you've got? LOL

Prostar writes:

I enjoyed the Florida Thugs get their beatdown last night. I can't remember a more classless team since, oh yeah, Miami who's also from "Florida". When's the last time you saw a referee get in a players face the way that ref did to #1 in the 2nd quarter? If Jeremy Foley doesn't take steps to stop the "culture of corruption" in that football team then we'll know he's part of the problem also.

SummittsCourt writes:

For all of the Vol fans who didn't want Charlie Strong coaching the Vols because he was a Big East coach... what do you think now?

Let's hope bUTch Jones makes this point moot.

DeltaCharlie3 writes:

And it wasn't that close. Great job to Strong and staff. So glad he's at Louisville and not somewhere in the SECe, namely Tennessee.

Florida got out-coached and out-played, period, on top of having 5 weeks of bowl prep hearing about how good they were and how Louisville wasn't worthy. Plus, the dynamic of Strong staying at Louisville serving as a boost for the players all = a perfect storm for the disinterested Gators. Still, 11-2 is an outstanding season and I'm proud of Muschamp and the season he had. Program is headed back in right direction.

Happy offseason everyone. See ya around soon once the SEC basketball slate heats up.

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

For all of the Vol fans who didn't want Charlie Strong coaching the Vols because he was a Big East coach... what do you think now?

Let's hope bUTch Jones makes this point moot.

Chuck did not want us, so why even bring it up? We needed and now have someone who wants to be here. Chuck played 1 of the weakest schedules in the entire NCAA, so let's not get too carried away with him catching uf on a bad night.

UL did good last night, props to 'em, but if Chuck played our schedule for the past 3 years he would not have 3 winning years, much less 10-2 this year. Reminds me of Boise State, played nobodies all year and rose up in the last game and beat a big school, 10-2, 11-1, but only 1 quality win.

If we had UL's schedule we would have a winning record and be ranked too. Chuck is OK playing 1 SEC team a year (UK) and 1 ranked team in a bowl game, but playing 7 more SEC games was clearly not to his liking. He plays a weak big east schedule, then fills in out-of- conference powerhouses like murray state and missouri state.

If he did not want to be in Knoxville, why continue to fawn over him?

In Butch We Trust.

atnvol#283282 writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

For all of the Vol fans who didn't want Charlie Strong coaching the Vols because he was a Big East coach... what do you think now?

Let's hope bUTch Jones makes this point moot.

I still will take Jones over Strong and I believe time will bear this out....truth of the matter is that Louvull played way over their head and got some fortunate bounces and the Gators never bothered to show up....great job motivating muskchump.

volnsc writes:

For the most part, CCS did this with 2 and 3 star players from Florida. With the right guys, you can coach up and get great results. Hats off to CCS. Easy to see why he did not jump to Rocky Top. They'll do well in the ACC.

ktownorange32 writes:

in response to volnsc:

For the most part, CCS did this with 2 and 3 star players from Florida. With the right guys, you can coach up and get great results. Hats off to CCS. Easy to see why he did not jump to Rocky Top. They'll do well in the ACC.

Agreed, hats off to CCS and his squad. i have no dislike of him for not choosing to come here, but it does remind me of a post, i forget who, that said "don't stress over it guys, florida is gonna show you all why you don't want CCS as your coach" lol. Louisville will be great in the ACC and strong showed he is a great coach. Im happy with CBJ, but to all the people that were squalling that Hart shouldn't have been going after CCS..... well, you were wrong. GREAT WIN LOUISVILLE!!!!! I am an SEC man but when it comes to Florida..... HAHAHAHA

tnvol4ever writes:

This is exactly why I quit watching bowl games years ago... One team happy and excited to be there and the other disappointed an uninspired to be there. The regular season is more of a playoff atmosphere and therefore more exciting to watch especially in the SEC. The bowls are a bust except for the title game. Love to see the Gators lose in regular season but couldn't care less about meaningless bowl loss.

orangecountyvols writes:

Vols,

First off, we discuss sports on this, the Vols' site. I doubt many Vols serve as trolls on a Gator website. So the message to lizard trolls/stalkers that camp out here, you get what you deserve. You ask for it, and you get it.

This game could have even been worse for the lizards. Louisville had many opportunities down close that drew blanks. And, give credit to Florida, they've always had people who could take it to the house ( 100 yd kickoff ) so looking back, that's a good time to kick it out of bounds, which did happen earlier.

But here's the score sheet for the lizards:

Pick 6 in the first 15 seconds. Back to back 15 yard person fouls. Player ejected, and rightly so. Botched onside kicks. Driskell coughing up the ball and throwing interceptions. Louisville out hitting and yes, out coaching the lizards.

Title town actually refers to Louisville, KY. Tennessee? Acknowledging this was a horrible defense this year, and yet.........ending the season with a W..........lizards with an L.

The ridiculous Gator chomp was noticeably absent once they realized school was out in this game. Southern Cal plus lizard performances.............good for the game.

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to JSmith525:

na na na na, hey hey hey, good night. Couldn't happen to a better team. Come on Gator trolls, talk to me.... tell me all about it.....

Wow....wonder if they're calling for Muschump to be fired yet.

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

And it wasn't that close. Great job to Strong and staff. So glad he's at Louisville and not somewhere in the SECe, namely Tennessee.

Florida got out-coached and out-played, period, on top of having 5 weeks of bowl prep hearing about how good they were and how Louisville wasn't worthy. Plus, the dynamic of Strong staying at Louisville serving as a boost for the players all = a perfect storm for the disinterested Gators. Still, 11-2 is an outstanding season and I'm proud of Muschamp and the season he had. Program is headed back in right direction.

Happy offseason everyone. See ya around soon once the SEC basketball slate heats up.

DC3 someone is using your computer!!!!
You are correct they got out coached and out played but just so you know we would love to have a 11-2 year...

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Awww...po wittle gayta troll. Hey, maybe you guys can give CCS a call and see if he'll replace Muschump! Obviously he can light a fire under a team! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!

VolsFanInAfghanistan writes:

in response to SummittsCourt:

For all of the Vol fans who didn't want Charlie Strong coaching the Vols because he was a Big East coach... what do you think now?

Let's hope bUTch Jones makes this point moot.

I must concur sir. As much as I love Tennessee football the fans can have their heads buried so far in the sand and be just as nasty as other college fans, but as you said Charlie Strong made a statement that he can coach in the big one as well as beat a so called elite team in the SEC. Sitting at #3 and getting beat by #21 did that really happen? Now I see why the Florida trolls as well as some others were worried if Strong came to Tennessee. Like you said let's hope Butch Jones shows he can coach 'em up as well.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

that sugar bowl beating hurts bad, doesn't it gater troll scum ha ha beating was much worse than the final score

usnavyvolfan__times_free_press_can_shove_it writes:

in response to VolsFanInAfghanistan:

I must concur sir. As much as I love Tennessee football the fans can have their heads buried so far in the sand and be just as nasty as other college fans, but as you said Charlie Strong made a statement that he can coach in the big one as well as beat a so called elite team in the SEC. Sitting at #3 and getting beat by #21 did that really happen? Now I see why the Florida trolls as well as some others were worried if Strong came to Tennessee. Like you said let's hope Butch Jones shows he can coach 'em up as well.

Butch beat out Charlie Strong as Big East COY twice. Yeah, there's the fact he lost to Dooley, but I still think Hart made the right decision in hiring him. O so satisfying seeing the Gators getting their just desserts! Stay safe out there!

HopeisNotaCourseofAction writes:

in response to orangecountyvols:

Vols,

First off, we discuss sports on this, the Vols' site. I doubt many Vols serve as trolls on a Gator website. So the message to lizard trolls/stalkers that camp out here, you get what you deserve. You ask for it, and you get it.

This game could have even been worse for the lizards. Louisville had many opportunities down close that drew blanks. And, give credit to Florida, they've always had people who could take it to the house ( 100 yd kickoff ) so looking back, that's a good time to kick it out of bounds, which did happen earlier.

But here's the score sheet for the lizards:

Pick 6 in the first 15 seconds. Back to back 15 yard person fouls. Player ejected, and rightly so. Botched onside kicks. Driskell coughing up the ball and throwing interceptions. Louisville out hitting and yes, out coaching the lizards.

Title town actually refers to Louisville, KY. Tennessee? Acknowledging this was a horrible defense this year, and yet.........ending the season with a W..........lizards with an L.

The ridiculous Gator chomp was noticeably absent once they realized school was out in this game. Southern Cal plus lizard performances.............good for the game.

Hee hee, you are right. The uf fans were so starved for anything good to cheer about they were delirious when uf was 20 pts down and UL would miss a field goal so they could finally break out their stupid arm motions for all to see.

Was so funny to see those sad, long faces getting their teeth pulled on national TV. And willie muschump losing it over and over on the sidelines - priceless!

Drink though a straw lizards, you lost a big one bad in front of everyone, now meekly go slither back to your bog.

orangecountyvols writes:

US Navy,

Exactly, friend. One final thought........we know the Vols were down and the record reflected that.

But............remember, the lizards were 'invincible.' 14 point favorites. What stings with the lizards is the fact that 30-some guys for Louisville were from Florida, and obviously made the right choice as to where they were going to play.

We realize Florida is an excellent team, but let's face it.........their smugness in the approach to the game was a reflection of their obnoxious and classless fan base. They simply got what they deserved. Bridgewater demonstrated to Driskell how the game is supposed to be played. Happy for him and his mom, plus all their fans.

underthehill writes:

I too am for the SEC..but not in this case..the unsportsmanlike conduct by Florida should be an embarassment for the SEC..the refs could ..and should..have called far more penalties on the Gators..I don't recall Miami ever being this bad..I recall them being arrogant but not this dirty..I really enjoyed watching them put in their place by a team believed to have no chance...

navarrebeachvol writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

speaking of losers, did you actually watch that beat down or was it past your bedtime? I would rather sit out the bowl season than have my team get beat like a drum by 14 point under dogs. Thanks for embarrassing the conference, lizard-losers. Having UL start their second half drive at your 19 was sheer genius. But you were in bed by then.

Volbound1700 writes:

UT missed out on a good coach that can actually beat Florida because our AD is an incompotent idiot. Oh well, he may have lucked himself into a decent hire with Butch Jones.

VolFanInTheBoro (Inactive) writes:

in response to tnvol4ever:

This is exactly why I quit watching bowl games years ago... One team happy and excited to be there and the other disappointed an uninspired to be there. The regular season is more of a playoff atmosphere and therefore more exciting to watch especially in the SEC. The bowls are a bust except for the title game. Love to see the Gators lose in regular season but couldn't care less about meaningless bowl loss.

anytime the Gaytas lose its a meaningful game. Little zz and little waffle boy, come out and plaaay bwahaha
GO IRISH!

volforeverandever writes:

Louisville played who?

Volbound1700 writes:

in response to tnvol4ever:

This is exactly why I quit watching bowl games years ago... One team happy and excited to be there and the other disappointed an uninspired to be there. The regular season is more of a playoff atmosphere and therefore more exciting to watch especially in the SEC. The bowls are a bust except for the title game. Love to see the Gators lose in regular season but couldn't care less about meaningless bowl loss.

The Bowl system has been a failure for a long time. Playoffs would be far better. I also think we need more than just a 4 team playoff. A 16 or 32 team playoff would be far more exciting and would surpass March Madness in atmosphere.

hikerdude writes:

If you ever wondered why Strong turned down the Tennessee offer, you now have your answer.

voloffaith writes:

Pulling against SEC teams is so wrong(some say) then why did it seem so right last night? Yep if chompers and lil lane hadn't lost this bowl season would have been so empty as we had to sit home again this year. Thanks cardinals and rambling wreck......Go Aggies and Johnny Rebs!

OldNumber7 writes:

in response to 9willbesofine:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Much to YOUR chagrin...Lyle beat Chuck every time his team played Louisville. Nice try. I am very content today - and convinced we got the right man.

wallingdad writes:

in response to hikerdude:

If you ever wondered why Strong turned down the Tennessee offer, you now have your answer.

Louisville is a basketball school first and foremost. Strong will always be in the shadow of the basketball coach. he will be congratulated and lightly adored at Louisville. if he went to UT and performed in the same manner he would be crowned "king". Big difference. He made a mistake. it is not that apparent now but it will be soon enough. If he is comfortable playing second fiddle then good for him. he will get what he wants. if he wanted to be the big dog he would have gone to a high profile school that adores and worships football.

gohawks1 writes:

Go Gatas, go Gatas, go Gatas!

cloudodust writes:

Hey Florida, Thanks for showing up...

brokendownoldvol writes:

So far the SEC has been embarrassed in the bowls. Even though I am an SEC and TN fan I too am tired of hearing only the SEC plays football.

madrigal writes:

That was a fun game to watch. Florida looked totally bewildered the whole first quarter. Lots of stuff not called by the refs, mostly on Florida...gotta wonder how many they win because of unsportsmanlike play.

volforeverandever writes:

Louisville beat the title wannabes and the little blue in BB. Congratulations,pretty good week .

6972 writes:

Hope the undertaker doesn't have a hard time wiping the smile off my face. Wouldn't want my widow to think I had been up to something.

AllforTenn writes:

in response to Volbound1700:

UT missed out on a good coach that can actually beat Florida because our AD is an incompotent idiot. Oh well, he may have lucked himself into a decent hire with Butch Jones.

Ridiculous. Why blame Hart for Strong staying at Louisville? Butch Jones seems to be just as good anyway.
Apparently you have a real dislike for Hart.

pcorange writes:

I think what was most telling in this game was how horribly outcoached Muschamp was. He carried a roster full of four and five star players into the game and got soundly whipped by Strong's two and three star team. As several here have already noted, the beating was far worse than the final score. Florida fans don't need to act like they were just not interested in playing Louisville. That is a coach's job to motivate his team no matter who they are playing. Muschamp got his tail handed to him last night and made a complete fool of himself. He turned UT down after Kiffin bolted. Now I'm glad he did. If he can't coach the talent he has to a win over Louisville, he sure as hell wouldn't have a chance of winning here.

AllforTenn writes:

in response to hikerdude:

If you ever wondered why Strong turned down the Tennessee offer, you now have your answer.

Where is it?

Volbound1700 writes:

It is not just that Charlie Strong would be in the shadow of basketball but also Louisville is BY FAR when it comes to fan support in the shadow of UK. It is almost as bad as Vandy/TN.

MooseandSquirrelVol writes:

And THAT, my Vol friends, is why I so wanted Charlie Strong when Hammy hired Kiffin.

Thanks again Hammy.

That said, I believe Coach Jones will make it a moot point.

pcorange writes:

This game last night ought to make UT fans feel better about Butch Jones. Jones has beat Strong two out of the three times they've played one another, and after the total beatdown Strong put on a more talented Muschamp team last night, Jones looks that much better.

rtrchatt writes:

in response to DeltaCharlie3:

And it wasn't that close. Great job to Strong and staff. So glad he's at Louisville and not somewhere in the SECe, namely Tennessee.

Florida got out-coached and out-played, period, on top of having 5 weeks of bowl prep hearing about how good they were and how Louisville wasn't worthy. Plus, the dynamic of Strong staying at Louisville serving as a boost for the players all = a perfect storm for the disinterested Gators. Still, 11-2 is an outstanding season and I'm proud of Muschamp and the season he had. Program is headed back in right direction.

Happy offseason everyone. See ya around soon once the SEC basketball slate heats up.

Gators need to step up their on field woofing.
Your discipline is off the charts as well. Try the Alabama way, let your helmets and shoulder pads do yout talking and always respect the opposition on/off the field. YOU NEVER SEE Bama
act like primadonnas.

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