Louisville Football 2013 Bowl Capsule

Louisville Cardinals


In an amazing turn of events, an 11-1 season for the Louisville Cardinals is dampened by disappointment. At the beginning of the season, Louisville seemed to be the most likely AQ-conference school to finish its season undefeated. They would be playing in the newly created and seemingly weak American Athletic Conference. They also had no ranked teams on their schedule. These last two facts remained true and the Cardinals came very close. The problem was their one loss came at the hands of Central Florida, a team that bested them in the conference standings as well. So although 11-1 seems like a great year, there was no BCS bowl for Louisville, falling short of their preseason goal for sure.

2013 Record: 11-1, 7-1
Coach: Charlie Strong
Coach Bowl Record: 2-2

Big Wins: 11/16 Houston (20-13, 12/5 at Cincinnati (31-24 OT)
Bad Losses: 10/18 UCF (35-38)

The best player on this team may also be the best quarterback in the country, and could hear his name called as a top five pick in next year's NFL Draft. Junior QB Teddy Bridgewater flew under radars but had himself a fantastic season. After a good freshman year and a very good sophomore campaign, he bested himself in his junior season. Bridgewater finished up the regular season completing over 70 percent of his passes while averaging over nine yards per attempt. He threw for 28 touchdowns to just four interceptions. Although he wasn't as sharp the second half of the season, Bridgewater was stellar all year long for the Cardinals. The other strength of this team overall was, surprisingly, its defense. Louisville finished in the top five nationally in total defense, rushing defense, pass defense and points allowed, giving up just 12.4 points per game. In fact, other than the final two games of the season, the UCF loss was the only time Louisville allowed its opponent to top 13 points. The Cardinals themselves averaged over 35 points per game on the year, even reaching that mark in the UCF game but falling short of victory.

The strength of schedule for Louisville was going to be a problem. It was evident before the season began. Even worse than what Ohio State was going through, Louisville had no quality wins to speak of. If they had gone undefeated, there is no question a one-loss team would have hopped them in the BCS rankings. With the one loss, their poor schedule relegates them to a weak bowl game. And this team was not perfect to begin with. Although the passing game was very good, the Cardinals rushing attack was not up to par. They also had no go-to weapons for Bridgewater. He managed to spread the ball around a lot, as eight different receivers finished with at least 200 yards and three different backs topped 200 yards on the ground. The biggest problem on this Cardinals team though was penalties. Too many times they hurt themselves. Louisville finished as one of the most penalized teams in the country, averaging over six accepted flags against them per game, for an average of about 63 yards.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Jeremy Wright, RB, 824 yards
Passing: Teddy Bridgewater, 3,718 yards
Receiving: Damian Copeland, 628 yards
Tackles: Preston Brown, LB, 109
Sacks: Lorenzo Mauldin, DE, 4.5
Interceptions: Terell Floyd, CB, 3

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 147.7 (84th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 307.3 (17, 3)
Total Offense: 455.0 (32, 2)
Scoring Offense: 35.5 (28, 1)
Rushing Defense: 82.8 (2, 1)
Pass Defense: 159.6 (2, 1)
Total Defense: 242.5 (2, 1)
Scoring Defense: 11.4 (3, 1)
Turnover Margin: 1.4 (4, 2)
Sacks: 3.45 (1, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.00 (64, 3)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2012    Sugar Bowl        Florida (33-23)
2011    Belk Bowl        North Carolina State (24-31)
2010    Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl    Southern Mississippi (31-28)
2006    Orange Bowl        Wake Forest (24-13)
2005    Gator Bowl        Virginia Tech (24-35)
2004    Liberty Bowl        Boise State (44-40)

*all team stats through 11/30


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