Sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has had an outstanding campaign for Louisville this season, but he won't be able to do enough against Florida to lead the Cardinals to victory in the 2013 Sugar Bowl.
The Cardinals wouldn't have won the Big East title this season if it weren't for Bridgewater, let alone collect 10 victories. The Miami native has averaged 8.9 yards per pass attempt (tied for ninth in the nation, via CFBStats.com) while tossing 25 touchdowns to seven interceptions. He's done this despite Louisville averaging 3.58 yards per carry (104th in the country).
However, Bridgewater will struggle by his standards in the Sugar Bowl, and it has less to do with him and more to do with Florida's pass defense.
Florida has allowed 5.4 yards per pass attempt this season, tied for third in the nation. That includes holding opposing quarterbacks to five passing touchdowns (second) while collecting 19 interceptions (tied for eighth) in the big and bad SEC.
The Gators have also made life miserable for Tennessee's Tyler Bray (5.8 yards per attempt, two touchdowns, two interceptions), Georgia's Aaron Murray (6.3 yards per attempt, one touchdown, three interceptions) and Florida State's E.J. Manuel (5.5 yards per attempt, one touchdown, three interceptions).
On top of the menacing matchup, Bridgewater doesn't have much of a running game to take pressure off of him. Florida will most likely be staying back and protecting against the pass, which makes his job all the more difficult.
And while Bridgewater has had a nearly flawless season, that doesn't mean he hasn't struggled from time to time. Just two games ago, he averaged 6.2 yards per pass attempt while tossing two touchdowns to one interception in the 23-20 triple-overtime loss to Connecticut. He's not invincible.
Now, Bridgewater faces the toughest test of his career against Florida in the Sugar Bowl. To count him out completely would be foolish given his remarkable campaign, but you can't help but think this will be more of a learning experience for the sophomore than a success.
What are your thoughts?