None bigger than this one, Louisville embarrasses Florida and Las Vegas

No doubt, whatsoever. The biggest win in University of Louisville football history, this 33-23 win over fourth-ranked Florida in the BCS Sugar Bowl.

Vegas odd makers losing big on U of L, not giving any credit for heart, ambition or desire. The Cardinals  don’t roll over for anyone. The higher the stakes the bigger the chip on the shoulder. Hey, this is serious business, the tougher the opposition the better.

Louisville making a huge statement on behalf of the Big East and Atlantic Coast conferences with this win, and there were no “SEC, SEC, SEC” chants heard during the entire game. If there were, they were drowned out by the 20,000-plus Louisvillians in the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome, one rousing party from the coin toss until the trophy presentation, carrying over to Bourbon Street all night long, and on every single thoroughfare leading back to the Ville.

Charlie Strong would award the game ball to the University of Louisville fans, designating them as most valuable players to shouts of “Charlie, Charlie, Charlie” and “Teddy, Teddy, Teddy.”  The crowd standing mesmerized, not wanting to leave the scene, sending text messages to everyone on their cell phone contact lists, whether they happen to be UofL fans or not.

Among them was Louie Kern, a long-time Louisville fan, who was wearing the same No. 32 jersey at the Sugar Bowl that he had worn at the Orange Bowl in 2007, which had been the best win until now. “We expect to win, and we’re not going home without one,” he said, before boarding the bus at the hotel for the stadium. So many believers in the UofL camp, so many doubters on the perimeter. One of them a University of Kentucky fan who told the observer two weeks ago UofL didn’t have a prayer. Easy for him to say when UK hasn’t beaten Florida in 30-plus years.

Teddy Bridgewater would be praised over and over again going into the game, but not nearly as much he will in the coming weeks and months. After completing 20 of 32 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns, he and his teammates have taken Louisville football to another level. Plenty of credibility  going into 2013 season no matter the conference in which they happen to reside. Teddy, well, he moved up several notches on the Heisman watch list, impossible to ignore any longer.

But it was another sophomore named Terrell Floyd, who smashed his home state university in the nostril with that interception of Florida’s first offensive play. That 38-yard dash to the end zone 15 seconds into the game a shot across the bow, a harbinger of things to come for the Gators. It was Floyd, remember, who intercepted the Rutgers pass to give UofL the Big East title and the BCS bid. He also intercepted the final pass in the Cincinnati overtime win.

Jeremy Wright would get stopped time and time again but would never relent, eventually chalking 84 yards and a touchdown. Sometimes he looks impressive, at other times not so much. But be assured he will never quit coming at you, regardless.

Preston Brown would be in on nine tackles, getting his name called repeatedly, Calvin Pryor would answer the call for four, Hakeen Smith for five, defying the Florida running attack that was averaging close to 200 yards coming into the fray, managing only 151 in the one that really counted.

As Calvin Pryor had predicted, Louisville “shocked the world” with this one but the world obviously had a lot to learn about Louisville football.

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Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

5 thoughts on “None bigger than this one, Louisville embarrasses Florida and Las Vegas

  • January 3, 2013 at 5:18 am
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    How sweet it is! Allstate banners have been seen being pulled by airplanes in the skies over NOLA this week touting, “There will be MAYHEM!” Right they were!

    We just closed Pat O’Brien’s dueling piano bar at 3 am, though the plentiful UofL fans wanted the music to play on. Despite the cool temperatures and rain, the Cardinal faithful (including some players) still populated Bourbon Street, filling it with C-A-R-D-S cheers heard by us even blocks away as we turned down Canal to our hotel.

    What an amazing end to this football season: the gutty Rutgers win, the ACC move, Charlie’s choice to stay and now a BCS Bowl victory over the 3rd ranked Gators! Sugar is sweet!

  • January 3, 2013 at 5:50 am
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    Fantastic day to be a Card fan. Thanks for your articles, i like reading what you write sir. Any idea what time the team will be back at the airport? i will be there if i know when to be. Thanks

  • January 3, 2013 at 8:24 am
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    Did you guys go to bed last night? I did but I don’t know how much sleep was occurring.

  • January 3, 2013 at 9:46 am
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    Floored-Ida, you’ve been “carded”.

  • January 3, 2013 at 10:52 am
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    Congratulations, big win for Louisville. The Cards played like it was the Super Bowl while the Gators played like it was a meaningless exhibition game. Some say perception is reality; such is college football. I can’t wait for a real playoff.

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