Louisville’s success this season shocked everybody except the No. 22 Cardinals.
That won’t be the case next year, not after Louisville upset No. 4 Florida in the Sugar Bowl Wednesday night. Expectations will be high heading into next season.
That’s fine with the Cardinals, whose 33-23 victory over the heavily favored Gators brought a huge measure of vindication in a season in which they struggled for respect. After starting 9-0 but remaining outside the Bowl Championship Series title discussion, Louisville earned its second BCS bowl berth.
Louisville’s ground game could be deep again with second-leading rusher Senorise Perry (705 yards, 11 touchdowns) expected back after tearing his right ACL on Nov. 10. The junior will rejoin a backfield including redshirt freshman Corvin Lamb and juniors Dominique Brown and Jeremy Wright, who rushed for 84 yards and a TD in the bowl win.
However, Sugar Bowl MVP Bridgewater will command most of the attention, especially after his performance on center stage in the nationally televised game against a Southeastern Conference opponent. Bridgewater is the main reason the Cardinals will likely enter next season with the respect they craved this year.
”I’ve been saying it all year: He’s one of the best quarterbacks and best player in the nation,” Cardinals safety Calvin Pryor said of Bridgewater. ”They look at Louisville, don’t give us any credit, but he’s one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.”