Sugar Bowl 2013 Game Time: Crucial Keys to Watch for in Massive BCS Clash

Tim KeeneyContributor IJanuary 2, 2013

LOUISVILLE, KY - NOVEMBER 24:  Teddy Bridgewater of the Louisville Cardinals throws a pass during the game against the Connecticut Huskies at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on November 24, 2012 in Louisville, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Sugar Bowl is going to be a lot sweeter than you think.

With the Florida Gators just a few plays removed from appearing in the National Championship and the Louisville Cardinals survivors of a mediocre Big East Conference, it's not surprising to see the spread at two touchdowns.

It's also not exactly stunning that fans are pushing this BCS matchup aside like it's the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

Still, there are talented, NFL-caliber players on both sides of the ball and several key match-ups that make this game an attractive one.

If that sounds like something you might be interested in, then you're in the right place. 

When: Wednesday, January 2, 2013, 8:30 p.m. ET

Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA


Live Streaming: WatchESPN


Turnover Battle

Florida is No. 5 in the FBS in turnover margin while Louisville is No. 21. Something has to give. 

The Gators are ranked slightly higher because they are more aggressive on the defensive end. They get far more pressure on the quarterback than the Cardinals do. As a result, defensivebacks Matt Elam (4 interceptions) and Jaylen Watkins (3 interceptions) have made life miserable on opposing quarterbacks.

Overall, this defense is tied for sixth in the nation with 19 picks. 

But Teddy Bridgewater isn't exactly a normal quarterback. 

Despite throwing the ball 387 times, the talented sophomore has tossed just 7 interceptions and rarely puts Louisville in a bad spot, even when harassed with pressure.  


Teddy Touchdown

It's not exactly easy to score on Florida's defense, which ranks near the top of the country in pretty much every stat imaginable. But if someone is going to move the ball against the Gators in this one, it's Bridgewater.

He's only a sophomore, so the hype machine hasn't fully kicked into gear. But Teddy Touchdown is an elite pocket passer and has the chance to boost himself to the top of the 2014 draft.

You know, if he hasn't done so already (via Bleacher Report's Matt Miller):

The No. 1 reason to watch the Orange Bowl tonight? Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater. Likely top QB for 2014 draft class.

— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 2, 2013

Bridgewater needs to have a monster game to beat this Florida defense. 


Containing Mike Gillislee

Against mostly SEC defenses this season, Gillislee has rushed 235 times for 1,104 yards and 11 total touchdowns. He's versatile, powerful and has game-breaking speed. The question isn't really about Louisville stopping him, it's about how much can they slow him down. 

Unfortunately, containing the dynamic back might even be out of the question, too.

The Cardinals have allowed teams to gain 4.4 yards per carry and 155.8 rushing yards per game this season.

Expect some big numbers from the senior in his last ever collegiate game.