Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater couldn’t take a snap from under center due to a broken wrist, so head coach Charlie Strong decided to start senior Will Stein in the Big East title game. Stein struggled and only managed to throw for 59 yards in the first half as the Cardinals trailed the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 14-3 at the break.
Enter Bridgewater who went 20-of-28 for 263 yards. The Louisville signal called rallied his team, mainly from a shotgun formation, and threw two touchdown passes in the second half. John Wallace kicked a 29-yard field goal with just 1:41 to play, sending the Cardinals to a BCS Bowl with a 20-17 victory.
This will be the Cardinals’ second ever BCS appearance and will end up in either the Orange or Sugar Bowl. Louisville will share the conference title with Rutgers, as well as the Syracuse Orange, and possibly even the Cincinnati Bearcats if they can secure a win this weekend. The tiebreaker is the BCS standings and there is little doubt the Cardinals with finish highest among the four schools.
Rutgers shot out to big lead early getting two huge plays in the passing game. Quarterback Gary Nova threw touchdowns of 85 and 68 yards to stake the Scarlet Knights out to a 14-3 lead. With Bridgewater out, and a Scarlet Knight defense that was ranked 4th in the nation in points allowed per game, Rutgers looked poised to reach their first BCS Bowl. The defense didn’t hold up when it mattered most, however, and Bridgewater did the rest.
The key moment that perhaps changed the outcome of the game was a fake field goal executed by Rutgers in the third quarter that would have made the score 21-3. An illegal man down field negated the touchdown though and the Scarlet Knights were ultimately forced to punt.
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