Louisville Football: Cardinals Who Will Give Florida Gators Trouble

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 03:  Teddy Bridgewater #7 of the Louisville Cardinals runs with the ball while defended by Nate Smith #35 of the Temple Owls during the game at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 3, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Louisville will go as far as sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater can take them.

The 21st-ranked Cardinals meet the No. 3 Florida Gators in the Sugar Bowl tonight. Louisville is going to need an almost perfect performance to upset the heavily favored Gators.

Much of the burden will be carried by Bridgewater, who's been outstanding this season. He's thrown for 3,452 yards and 25 touchdowns. His passer rating of 161.6 ranks seventh in the nation.

You can bet that Will Muschamp will be game-planning his defense around stopping Bridgewater. The QB won't be able to do it all himself.

If the Cardinals are to pull off the win, Bridgewater will need help from these players.


Preston Brown, LB

Florida has relied on their ground game to get them through a tough conference slate. Senior running back Mike Gillislee has run for 1,104 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Louisville is going to have to try and stifle Gillislee and the Gators rushing attack. Junior linebacker Preston Brown will have to step up.

Brown's 96 tackles lead the Cardinals. He can fly around the ball and doesn't give up on a play, as evidenced by his 53 assisted tackles.

Brown hasn't been a huge threat rushing the passer, but that shouldn't be a determining factor in the game. His main job will be to stop Gillislee at the line of scrimmage and not allow Florida to dictate the pace of the game.


Adrian Bushell, CB/KR

So many upsets are spurred by turnovers or a big special teams play. Senior cornerback Adrian Bushell can provide both.

He's only intercepted one pass on the season, but Bushell has recorded 11 pass break-ups and another 12 pass deflections.

Bushell has also been the primary return man on kickoffs, which could prove to be the best way for him to impact the game. Although he hasn't taken one to the house, Bushell has averaged around 20 yards per return. It would be huge for Louisville if he can break a big enough return to get the team great field position.

Playing on a short field gives the Cardinals an excellent chance of getting on the board and putting pressure on a Florida offense that hasn't exactly been electric this year.


DeVante Parker, WR

If Louisville wants a big offensive play, it needs to look to sophomore wideout DeVante Parker. He's leading the Cardinals in receiving yards and touchdowns and averages almost 19 yards a catch.

Florida will look to try and blanket him, but that could be hard to do with Parker's size. At 6'3", he can get physical with the opposition if need be.

Parker is also a threat in the red zone, which is good for all of the attention that running backs Jeremy Wright and Senorise Perry will be demanding.

The running game has been great for Louisville, but the Cardinals can't afford to be too one-dimensional against a defense as good as Florida's. Parker will need to provide Bridgewater with a steady option in the air attack.