Louisville Fails To Impress With Another Bland Win
Louisville's dire BCS Championship hopes, and perhaps Teddy Bridgewater's Heisman chances, took a hit Thursday in a 24-10 win against Rutgers.
If you believe the Heisman watch lists, Bridgewater is a fringe Top 5 candidate at this point. That means he has work to do to get an invite to New York.
The Cardinals (6-0, 2-0) needed a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to put away the Scarlet Knights (4-2, 1-1) despite four interceptions by Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova.
Bridgewater finished 21-of-31 for 310 yards and two touchdowns, but threw one interception and lost a fumble on a sack.
"It's a win for us. The whole country had a chance to see this team play," coach Charlie Strong told ESPN.
For Louisville, it was "a missed opportunity" to impress on a national stage, ESPN's announcers agreed during the latter portion of the broadcast. Four out of the last seven Louisville games are weekday affairs on ESPN or ESPN2, including Thursday's win. The remaining national TV opponents (UCF, UConn, Cincinnati) hardly offer the Cardinals and Bridgewater a major stage.
The Cardinal boast the No. 1 scoring defense in the FBS (7.3 points per game). Louisville also beat Kentucky, 27-13, on Sept. 14, the only other team that has come within 23 points of the Cardinals. That game, combined with the Rutgers win, also may penalize Louisville slightly because the score was a bit of a disappointment, but the Wildcats since played Florida within 24-7 and South Carolina within 35-28.
The team can win out and earn an automatic BCS bowl berth as the American Athletic champion, but Louisville (30-to-1 as of Monday) is unlikely to win the BCS championship even with a lot of help. If Bridgewater excels the rest of the way, he'll compete for a spot as a Heisman finalist, but he's unlikely to win the award.
"The ultimate goal is to get the victory and to make ourselves better as football players," said an unconcerned Bridgewater during a live interview on SportsCenter.