2011 Prediction & Game Story
Week 13, Louisville at USF
Big East Fearless Predictions &
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Nov. 25 Louisville 34 … at South Florida 24
CFN Analysis: Just when it seemed like South Florida had control of the game and stopped the bleeding, the Louisville offense got hot when it had to. This was yet another Teddy Bridgewater moment that showed what a star he’ll be to work around for the next three years completing 19-of-28 passes for 241 yards and three touchdowns. … The defense didn’t need to take too many chances and sold out against the run. It worked, forcing two fumbled and allowing just 64 rushing yards. … It might still take a few breaks to get into the BCS, but just getting the offense hot and winning five of the final six games is enough for now to make this a successful season. It’ll take a West Virginia loss to South Florida to make it interesting, but at least the team has solidified a solid bowl bid.
It’s going to take a win over West Virginia just to become bowl eligible in a season full of collapses. The Bulls have now lost six of their last seven, and this one might hurts because the defense died. … Up 17-3 it seemed like everything was in place to pull off a win and save the season, but instead the mistakes started coming, the defense didn’t come up with the key stop it needed, and the team was outscored 34-7. … Bobby Eveld did a nice job in place of B.J. Daniels, completing 20-of-35 passes for 210 yards and a score with a pick, but he failed to get the offense moving in the fourth quarter and he couldn’t come up with the rally. The game isn’t on him, though. This was on the D.
(AP) TAMPA, Fla. -- Louisville got three touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to defeat South Florida 34-24 Friday and clinch a share of the Big East championship.
Louisville (7-5, 5-2), which rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the first half, took the lead for good on Bridgewater's 10-yard pass to DeVante Parker with 9:38 remaining.
The Cardinals added to their lead on Dominique Brown's 9-yard touchdown run with 4:12 remaining.
Bridgewater finished 19 of 28 for 241 yards.
Louisville, which began the season 2-4 before winning five of its last six regular-season games, can capture the Big East's berth in a Bowl Championship Series game if Cincinnati loses once more and Friday night's winner between Pittsburgh and West Virginia loses next week.
South Florida (5-6, 1-5), which needs a victory in Thursday's regular-season finale against West Virginia to qualify for its seventh consecutive bowl appearance, played the entire game with sophomore quarterback Bobby Eveld, a former walk-on, because of a shoulder injury to starter B.J. Daniels. Eveld was 20 of 35 for 210 yards.
Louisville, which snapped a 16-game losing streak in regular-season games played in the state of Florida that dated to 1972, took a 20-17 lead with 2:40 remaining in the third quarter on Bridgewater's 18-yard pass to tight end Josh Chichester on third-and-11.
South Florida struck back quickly when Lindsey Lamar returned the ensuing kickoff 62 yards. On the first play from scrimmage, Eveld pitched to Demetris Murray, who stopped and flicked a left-handed 37-yard halfback-option pass to Deonte Welch, giving the Bulls a 24-20 advantage.
South Florida, largely capitalizing on Louisville mistakes, took a 17-10 lead into halftime.
The Bulls went ahead 7-3 on Eveld's 35-yard pass to Lamar on fourth-and-3. Initially, South Florida seemed prepared for a punt, then shifted its offensive players onto the field. Eveld found a wide-open Lamar, who drifted behind safety Hakeem Smith down the left sideline.
South Florida stalled on its next drive, but on fourth-and-17 from the Bulls' 37-yard line, Louisville's Mike Evans roughed punter Justin Brockhaus Kann, providing new life. Maikon Bonani completed the nine-play, 34-yard drive with a 40-yard field goal.
Louisville, looking for the equalizer, got a 19-yard pass from Bridgewater to running back Jarel McGriff-Culver to the South Florida 41, but strong safety Jon Lejiste rammed the ball loose after a jarring hit and recovered the fumble.
South Florida then mounted a 13-play, 59-yard drive, culminating in Murray's 1-yard run on third-and-goal to provide a 17-3 advantage with 35 seconds remaining in the half. On fourth-and-1 from the Louisville 35, wide receiver Victor Marc took a snap at quarterback and rushed for 4 yards.
Trying to prevent a last-second score, South Florida squibbed the kickoff, but Senorise Perry still rumbled for a 49-yard return before being pushed out of bounds at the Bulls' 25-yard line. Two plays later, Bridgewater found Parker for an 18-yard score in the back of the end zone, cutting South Florida's advantage to 17-10.
Louisville (6-5) at South Florida (5-5) Nov. 25, 11:00, ESPN2
Here’s The Deal … Just when you think you’ve got Louisville sized up, it goes out and flips the script once again. Early in the year, the Cardinals lost three straight, only to battle back with three consecutive victories. At its peak, the program lost at home to Pittsburgh two weeks ago. And just when it looked as if the Cards would be running out of gas, they travel up to East Hartford last Saturday to hand Connecticut a two-touchdown loss. More than just bowl-eligible for the second straight year under Charlie Strong, Louisville will earn no less than a share of the Big East title with a win in Tampa this week.
South Florida’s follow-up to its breakout, 37-17 win over Syracuse last Friday night? A 6-3 home loss to Miami in a game that the program desperately wanted. Not only would it have earned the program some in-state bragging rights, but it would have reserved a spot in the postseason as well. Beyond the usual distractions of November, the Bulls must now deal with rumors that head coach Skip Holtz is being courted by North Carolina.
Why Louisville Might Win: Strong’s defense has been the catalyst for this program all season, ranking in the top 20 nationally in run defense, sacks and scoring D, yielding just 18 points per game. This assertive unit will present all kinds of problems for a suspect South Florida offense that’s been unable to produce more than 17 points in four of the last six games. Even worse, the Bulls could be without starting QB B.J. Daniels, who injured his throwing shoulder over the weekend.
Daniels can be erratic, but he’s a far more dangerous option than backup Bobby Eveld, who’ll wilt in the face of the Louisville pressure. Linebackers Dexter Heyman and Preston Brown will spearhead a pass rush that makes sure USF punts more than it prospers on Friday.
Why South Florida Might Win: The Bulls are not going to score a ton of points this week, but their defense is capable of making sure that the game never gets out of reach. South Florida has been every bit as feisty as Louisville this fall, leading the country in tackles for loss, and yielding only 2.8 yards a rush.
The Cardinals O-line, which ranks 114th nationally in sacks allowed, will have its hands full with the size and speed of the Bulls, who kept Miami out of the end zone last weekend. The team had six sacks in the game, unleashing LB DeDe Lattimore and linemen Keith McCaskill and Ryne Giddins on a Hurricanes front that’s far superior to the one that’ll be in Raymond James Stadium this week.
What To Watch Out For: For Louisville, this trip to Tampa will be sort of a homecoming; 30 Cardinals players hail from the Sunshine State. Strong, who was previously Urban Meyer’s defensive coordinator at Florida, continues to do a terrific job of recruiting talent from the state. One such player, Miami’s QB Teddy Bridgewater, moved into the starting lineup back in September. He’s played to predictably mixed reviews, improving as the year has progressed. He’ll face one of his stiffest tests of 2011 against a Bulls defense that’s going to bring the heat from every possible angle.
What Will Happen: With these two programs, you really never know what you’re going to get on a week-to-week basis. Still, it’s Louisville that’s played with a higher level of consistency over the past month. Plus, an injured Daniels is a very big deal at South Florida. With No. 7 out, or even at less than 100%, the Bulls will struggle to extend drives, and get into the end zone. The Cardinals, who’ve taken their last two on the road, will once again ride the shoulders of its no-name defense to a hard-fought victory.
CFN Prediction: Louisville 23 … South Florida 16
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