America, meet Teddy Bridgewater.
Louisville's sophomore quarterback shined under the bright spotlight of the Sugar Bowl Wednesday night, obliterating both Florida's defense and the nation's pregame expectations.
Despite entering the game as 14-point underdogs, Bridgewater and No. 21 Louisville upset the third-ranked Gators 33-23. It was the biggest upset in BCS history.
Bridgewater was clinical throughout the game, picking apart Florida's elite pass defense with surgical precision. Only two teams allowed less passing yards per game this season than the Gators (143.9), but Bridgewater had no trouble solving their Rubik's Cube of a defense.
The 20-year-old completed 20-of-32 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns. He also became the only player to toss touchdown passes of 15-plus yards against the Gators this season.
One of those touchdowns came on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. After a failed onside kick attempt by Florida, Bridgewater delivered this 19-yard dagger to Damian Copeland.
That play effectively ended the game and cemented Bridgewater's status as a preseason favorite for the 2013 Heisman Trophy, as ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit mentioned:
Congratulations to Louisville for an emphatic win over Florida! Teddy Bridgewater will be a Heisman frontrunner in 13! twitter.com/KirkHerbstreit…— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) January 3, 2013
Watching Teddy Bridgewater go in on UF!— Terrelle Pryor(@TerrellePryor) January 3, 2013
Teddy Bridgewater is REAL!!! Mad respect for the kid #salute— Cecil Shorts III (@CecilShortsIII) January 3, 2013
With his amazing Sugar Bowl performance, Bridgewater is ready to take the football world by storm. He was named the Big East Offensive Player of the Year in 2012, but much bigger accolades await the young man with the golden arm.
The Bridgewater Heisman bandwagon is rolling along, and it won't be long before NFL teams are tanking games in hopes of drafting him.
With his incredible talent and poise, Bridgewater already had the tools to become a national sensation. After destroying Florida on Wednesday night, he has officially arrived.