The junior threw for 344 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions on 25-of-29 passing to lead the Cardinals past struggling South Florida, 34-3, on Saturday. In the process, he registered a 220.0 quarterback rating—his highest since Week 1.
It’s a much-needed lift for Bridgewater’s Heisman stock, which was nearly left without a pulse following Louisville’s stunning 38-35 loss to UCF on Oct. 18.
Following that game, Sportsinsights.com made note of the startling effect the defeat had on his Heisman hopes:
Heading into Week 3, Teddy Bridgewater was the #HeismanTrophy favorite at +400. Following last night's loss, Bridgewater is now +3000.— SportsInsights.com (@SportsInsights) October 19, 2013
Furthermore, ESPN’s Heisman Watch dropped Bridgewater from its top five. In fact, he only managed to receive two fifth-place votes out of the 16 “experts” who were polled.
But is it really fair to criticize Bridgewater?
Against the Knights, it’s not like he played poorly. Bridgewater actually put together a very solid stat line, throwing for 341 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions on 29-of-38 passing.
ESPN Stats and Info offered this interesting tidbit:
Teddy Bridgewater's raw QBR of 89.2 was the fifth-highest by a starting FBS quarterback in a loss this season— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 19, 2013
Sure, maybe Bridgewater could have done a little more to help keep the Cardinals’ perfect season alive. However, the majority of the fault belongs to the defense, which came into the contest allowing a nation-low 7.3 points per game.
Besides, if Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and his two losses are still very much in it, why shouldn’t Bridgewater be too?
ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum said it best, when defending his opinion on why Manziel deserves the Heisman, via The Dallas Morning News’ Sean Lester:
“I’m staying with Johnny Manziel, and here’s why,” Finebaum said. “He has played better than anyone else, and not only that, we can’t take our eyes off of him. The Heisman goes to the most outstanding player, not the most outstanding team. As a longtime Heisman voter, I criticize my fellow colleagues because we get caught up in who won, who lost, you’re out."
The same could be said about Bridgewater.
Through eight games, the Miami, Fla.-native has been downright amazing. He has thrown for 2,557 yards, 23 touchdowns and just two interceptions on 73.7 percent passing.
This is the same guy who still managed a quarterback rating of 143.9 during his “worst” performance of the season—16-of-28, 250 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions against Kentucky on Sept. 14.
While there’s no doubt that Louisville is certainly out of contention for the BCS title, it’s foolish to think the same about Bridgewater in terms of the Heisman Trophy.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.