No. 23 Cardinals Win at Rutgers to Clinch BIG EAST Title

Banged-up sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater came off the bench to throw two second half touchdown passes, and redshirt freshman John Wallace kicked a 29-yard field goal with 1:41 left to lift No. 23 Louisville to a 20-17 BIG EAST Conference title clinching victory over No. 25 Rutgers on Thursday night in Piscataway, N.J.

With the win, the Cardinals (10-2, 5-2) clinched their second straight BIG EAST title and the third in school history. The league title will be shared with Rutgers and Syracuse, while Cincinnati can also earn a share with a win over Connecticut on Saturday. Whether it’s a three-way or four-way tie for the BIG EAST title, the league’s BCS bowl representative will ultimately be determined by the highest ranked team in the BCS standings. The final 2012 BCS standings and the BCS bowl matchups will be announced on Sunday at 8:30 p.m., ET on ESPN.

Bridgewater, who did not start Thursday’s matchup because of a broken wrist on his left (non-throwing) hand, entered the game in the second quarter and finished with 263 yards through the air on 20-of-28 passing with two touchdowns. Senior Will Stein earned the start and finished 8-of-11 for 59 yards passing while playing at various points in the game throughout the night. Senior Damian Copeland led the Cardinals receivers with six catches for 58 yards, while junior Jeremy Wright and sophomore DeVante Parker each had scoring catches.

Defensively, sophomore safety Calvin Pryor led Louisville with seven tackles and a pivotal fumble recovery late in the third quarter that led directly to the Cardinals’ first lead of the night. Junior linebacker Preston Brown added six tackles, while sophomore defensive back Terell Floyd and freshman linebacker James Burgess each had interceptions in the win.

A complete recap of Thursday’s win with links to stats and photos is available here at UofLsports.com.

Post-Game Notes

  • With the win, Louisville moved closer to earning its second BCS bowl berth in school history (2007 Orange Bowl) and its third major bowl bid (1991 Fiesta Bowl).

  • The Cardinals have won back-to-back road games at Rutgers for the first time and have won three straight overall against the Scarlet Knights.

  • Louisville reached 10 wins for the first time since going 12-1 in 2006. The Cardinals have finished with 10 or more wins four times in school history.

  • UofL improved to 6-1 this season in games decided by seven points or less. The Cardinals are 5-0 when allowing 20 points or less.

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