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01/03/2013 1:31 AM EST
Louisville upsets Florida 33-23 in Sugar Bowl
LOUISVILLE 33, FLORIDA 23

By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Louisville safety Calvin Pryor predicted the
Cardinals would "shock the world" against Florida in the Sugar
Bowl.



Brave words that he and his teammates backed up from start to
finish against an SEC power.



Terell Floyd returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown
on the first play, dual-threat quarterback Teddy Bridgewater
directed a handful of scoring drives and No. 22 Louisville
stunned the fourth-ranked Gators 33-23 in the Sugar Bowl on
Wednesday night.



By the end, the chant, "Charlie, Charlie!" echoed from sections
of the Superdome occupied by red-clad Cardinals fans. It their
way of serenading third-year Louisville coach Charlie Strong,
the former defensive coordinator for the Gators, who has
elevated Cardinals football to new heights and recently turned
down a chance to leave behind what he's built for the top job at
Tennessee.



"They kind of thought we were going to come in and lay down and
give them the game," Floyd said. "But Coach Strong always
preaches that we're better than any team in the nation if we
come out and play hard. Coach Strong believed in us and our
coaching staff believed in us and we came in and believed in
ourselves



Shaking off an early hit that flattened him and knocked off his
helmet, Bridgewater was 20 of 32 passing for 266 yards and two
touchdowns against the heavily favored Gators. Among his throws
was a pinpoint, 15-yard timing toss that DeVante Parker
acrobatically grabbed as he touched one foot down in the corner
of the end zone.



"I looked at what did and didn't work for quarterbacks during
the regular season," said Bridgewater, picked as the game's top
player. "They faced guys forcing throws ... and coach tells me,
`No capes on your back or `S' on your chest, take what the
defense give you.' That's what I took. Film study was vital."



His other scoring strike went to Damian Copeland from 19 yards
one play after a surprise onside kick by the Gators backfired
badly. Jeremy Wright had short touchdown run which gave the
two-touchdown underdogs from the Big East a 14-0 lead from which
the Gators never recovered.



Florida never trailed by more than 10 points this season, and
the Southeastern Conference team had lost only once going into
this game. The defeat dropped SEC teams to 3-3 this bowl season,
with Alabama, Texas A&M and Mississippi still left to play.



"We got outcoached and outplayed," Florida coach Will Muschamp
said. "That's what I told the football team. That's the bottom
line."



Louisville and Florida each finished at 11-2.



Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel, who had thrown only three
interceptions all season, turned the ball over three times on
two interceptions - both tipped passes - and a fumble. He
finished 16 of 29 for 175 yards.



"I look at this performance tonight, and I sometimes wonder,
`Why didn't we do this the whole season,"' Strong said. "We said
this at the beginning: We just take care of our job and do what
we're supposed to do, don't worry about who we're playing."



Down 33-10 midway through the fourth period, Florida tried to
rally. Andre Debose scored on a 100-yard kickoff return and
Driskel threw a TD pass to tight end Kent Taylor with 2:13 left.
But when Louisville defenders piled on Driskel to thwart the
2-point try, the game was essentially over.



Florida didn't score until Caleb Sturgis's 33-yard field goal
early in the second quarter.



The Gators finally got in the end zone with a trick play in the
closing seconds of the half. They changed personnel as if to
kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 1, but lined up in
a bizarre combination of swinging-gate and shotgun formations
and handed off to Matt Jones.



Jones met only minimal resistance as he crashed into the end
zone to cap an 11-play, 74-yard drive that included four
straight completions and four straight runs by Driskel.



The Gators tried to keep the momentum with a surprise onside
kick to open the third quarter, but not only did Louisville
recover, Florida's Chris Johnson was called for a personal foul
and ejected for jabbing at Louisville's Zed Evans. That gave
Louisville the ball on the Florida 19, from where Bridgewater
needed one play to find Copeland for his score.



"We game-planned it and felt good about it," Muschamp said of
the onside kick attempt. "We wanted to steal a possession at the
start of the second half."



On the following kickoff, Evans cut down kick returner Loucheiz
Purifoy with a vicious low, high-speed hit that shook Purifoy
up. Soon after, Driskel was sacked hard from behind and stripped
by Pryor.



"Just coming up to this point, we had the right attitude, had
the right mindset that we would go out and beat this team,"
Pryor said.



Louisville's Lorenzo Mauldin recovered on the Florida 4, but the
Gators' defense drove the Cardinals backward and forced a missed
field goal, but that was one of few morale victories for the
frustrated Gators.



After Louisville native Muhammad Ali was on the field for the
coin toss, the Cardinals quickly stung the Gators. Floyd, one of
nearly three dozen Louisville players from the state of Florida,
made the play.



Driskel was looking for seldom-targeted Debose, who'd had only
two catches all season.



"I threw it behind him, (he) tried to make a play on it, tipped
it right to the guy," Driskel said. "Unfortunate to start the
game like that."



It made for an easy catch and score for Floyd only 15 seconds
into the game.



"That play kind of set the tone," Floyd said. "It kind of gave
us momentum and we kept it."



Oddly, Louisville had only 10 defenders on the field until only
moments before the snap, when safety Jermaine Reve darted out
from the sideline and immediately found a Florida receiver to
cover.



When Louisville's offense got the ball later in the quarter, the
Florida defense, ranked among the best in the nation this
season, sought to intimidate the Cardinals with one heavy hit
after another.



One blow by Jon Bostic knocked Bridgewater's helmet off moments
after he'd floated an incomplete pass down the right sideline.
Bostic was called for a personal foul, however, which seemed to
get the Cardinals opening drive rolling. Later, Wright lost his
helmet during a 3-yard gain and took another heavy hit before he
went down.



Louisville kept coming, though.



B.J. Butler turned a short catch into a 23-yard gain down to the
Florida 1. Then Wright punched it in to give the Cardinals an
early two-TD lead over a team that finished third in the BCS
standings, one spot too low to play for a national title in
Miami.



Louisville won the Big East berth to this game. They beat
Rutgers in late November to virtually lock up the conference
title, sealing that win on a late interception by Floyd.

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