Louisville Wins Russell Athletic Bowl, 36-9
In it’s final season in the American Athletic Conference, the Louisville Cardinals (12-1, 7-1 AAC) defeated future ACC foe Miami (9-4, 5-3 ACC) 36-9 in front of 51,098 fans at the Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium on Saturday night.
“I’m so proud of my football team and what they have accomplished,” Louisville head coach Charlie Strong said. “We knew that we had to play well in all three phases of the game and we accomplished that.”
The Cardinals were lead by QB Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for 447 yards and three touchdowns while also running for another.
“Not only was I going against my home team but we also were facing our best opponent all year,” Bridgewater said.
Louisville held Miami without a touchdown until the fourth quarter. The Hurricanes were also kept to just 174 yards.
The game garnered a lot of hype due to Louisville’s large number of players from the Miami-Dade area and their familiarity with most of the Miami team.
“It was big for us,” Bridgewater said.
The game also took on some significance due to Louisville’s impending move to the ACC in 2014.
“When I look at the top teams in that conference I see Florida State, Miami and Clemson,” Strong said. “Looking at what we accomplished tonight it was great just watching our team perform the way they did.”
Miami got off to a hot start — forcing a Louisville safety in its first possession — but was held without a score until 10:23 left in the game. This was the first time since Nov. 27, 2010, that Miami did not score a touchdown or field goal in the first half. The Hurricanes were held to less than 10 points in a bowl for the first time since the 2005 Peach Bowl.
“Obviously I’m disappointed. We got beat in all three phases,” Miami head coach Al Golden said. “There are no excuses. We didn’t play well enough. Give Louisville credit they played really well but it’s my responsibility and I’m disappointed in our execution.”
Miami QB Stephen Morris, playing in his last game as a Hurricane, finished with just 160 yards and no touchdowns.
“Obviously this isn’t the performance I wanted to have being my last game but give credit to Louisville,” Morris said. “They had a great defensive plan going. They were in the right spots at the right time.”
Louisville defense sacked Morris four times and had eight tackles for loss. Leading for the Cardinals was Marcus Smith who had two sacks.
“Our main job was to get the ball back to Teddy,” Smith said. “We knew that if we got the ball back to him he would find a way to score.”