Thursday, April 19, 2018
Colleges

Florida Gators upset by Louisville Cardinals in Sugar Bowl

NEW ORLEANS — When safety Matt Elam and some of his teammates said Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was the best the Gators would face all season, they raised a few eyebrows.

After all, Florida had faced its share of top SEC quarterbacks, including Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M. So it seemed like hyperbole. By the end of Wednesday night, not so much.

Bridgewater was 20-of-32 for 266 yards and two touchdowns to earn MVP honors and lead No. 22 Louisville to a 33-23 victory over No. 4 Florida in the Sugar Bowl before an announced 54,178 at the Superdome.

"I told our players I love them so much and respect them so much," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. "It just means a lot for me to see this happen for them. If you focus right and prepare well, you can beat anybody."

The game wasn't as close as the score suggests. Florida's Jeff Driskel threw a 5-yard pass to Land O'Lakes High alum Kent Taylor with 2:13 left.

Strong, the Gators' former defensive coordinator, said the Cardinals needed a win for validation, to prove they could play with powers such as SEC teams.

They earned it with domination, scoring more points against a Gator defense that entered ranked No. 3 in the nation in scoring like no other opponent this season.

It was the most points the Gators have given up in a bowl game since the 2008 Capital One, a 41-35 loss to Michigan.

By the end, Louisville fans were chanting "Charlie" for their beloved third-year coach and "overrated" at the Gators.

"This is an unfortunate setback," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "I apologize to our fans and our university, but we've had a great year."

Florida trailed 15 seconds into the game and never led. It didn't convert a third down until 28 seconds into the fourth and was hurt by penalties, including multiple personal fouls. Florida had nine for 98 yards.

Louisville, which like UF finished 11-2, took the lead when Driskel's first pass was intercepted by cornerback Terell Floyd, who returned it 38 yards.

The Cardinals held Florida to 286 yards, 111 rushing.

"We didn't come through," said Driskel, 16-of-29 for 175 yards and two interceptions. "We didn't make enough plays."

UF trailed 24-10 at halftime — its largest halftime deficit of the season. And that was only after Driskel went 4-for-4 for 24 yards during an 11-play, 75 yard drive capped by former Armwood High standout Matt Jones' 1-yard run with 10 seconds left.

Florida's other touchdowns came on a 100-yard kickoff return by Andre Debose — the longest in Sugar Bowl history — with 7:41 left in the game.

Entering the game, the Gators had eight come-from-behind victories this season. But early on, you could sense this time might be different. Florida couldn't get anything going on offense and was 0-of-4 on third downs in the first half. (Louisville was 5-of-6.)

The Cardinals had just 5 rushing yards (on 15 carries) in the first half and by the end of the third quarter had just 15. Yet its lack of a run game wasn't much of a factor because of Bridgewater, who was nearly unstoppable.

   
Comments
Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Report: Florida Gators’ Cece Jefferson out four months after shoulder surgery

Florida Gators defensive lineman Cece Jefferson will be out four months after having surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week, according to a report Wednesday evening from the Gainesville Sun.Jefferson, a 6-foot-1, 242-pound senior, injured th...
Published: 04/18/18
Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Florida has signed 15 quarterbacks since Tim Tebow. 10 have transferred

Tuesday evening's news that quarterback Jake Allen plans to transfer from the Florida Gators isn't a surprise.Allen, a former three-star recruit in 2017, was fourth on the depth chart. The St. Thomas Aquinas product didn't seem to fit new coach ...
Published: 04/18/18
Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

Auden Tate will be the third FSU receiver drafted in 11 years. Why so few?

When former Wharton High star Auden Tate hears his name called sometime next week, he'll join a surprisingly small group.Recent Florida State receivers drafted into the NFL.Over the past decade, only two Seminoles receivers have been drafted: Rashad ...
Published: 04/18/18
Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Police suspected FSU’s Deondre Francois intended to sell marijuana

Tallahassee police suspected Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois possessed marijuana with the intent to sell it when they executed a search warrant on his home last week, according to an affidavit.The case — which culminated Thursda...
Published: 04/17/18
Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Florida State takes over No. 1 spot in 2019 recruiting rankings

Even as Florida State was finishing its first recruiting class under Willie Taggart, the Seminoles were already talking about what they could do in the new staff's first full cycle, for 2019."I can only imagine having a year here to be able to recrui...
Published: 04/17/18
Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

Former five-star back Khalan Laborn rejuvenated after FSU coaching change

TALLAHASSEE – Florida State running back Khalan Laborn's breakout 140-yard output in Saturday night's spring game was a sign of what could be for the former blue-chip recruit.It was also a reminder of what almost wasn't for the Seminoles.With a...
Published: 04/16/18
New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

New Orlando football team will welcome Steve Spurrier on Tuesday night

Steve Spurrier will make one of his first appearances in his new role with the Alliance of American Football tomorrow in Orlando.The league will welcome Spurrier as the coach of its Orlando team at an event at Ember (42 W Central Blvd.) at an event f...
Published: 04/16/18
Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

Five takeaways from Florida State’s spring football game

TALLAHASSEE – Judging by the crowd for Florida State's spring game on Saturday, Seminoles fans are excited about the dawn of the Willie Taggart era.The official attendance of 53,974 — a new record for a spring game — inclu...
Published: 04/14/18
Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

Five takeaways from the Florida Gators’ spring game

GAINESVILLE —It took some time, but the offense scored points in bunches, much to the delight of the 53,015 in attendance at Florida's spring game.And the Gators had fun doing it, pulling out all the stops with gadgets and celebrations that bro...
Published: 04/14/18
FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

FSU quarterback Deondre Francois faces marijuana complaint

Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois agreed to a pre-arrest diversion program after police found 17 grams of a cannabis/tobacco blend in his bedroom Thursday afternoon.The Tallahassee Police Department previously received a report of drug activ...
Published: 04/13/18