Bridgewater, Louisville are on top of Big East
Teddy Bridgewater grew up in Miami and rooted for the Florida Gators. His favorite quarterback played for Florida State.
So much for sentiment or geography. Those are big names in college football, but Bridgewater now is concerned with enhancing Louisville's reputation.
The rising-star sophomore quarterback leads his 18th-ranked, 5-0 team into its first Big East game against Pitt at Heinz Field on Saturday. As added incentive, the Cardinals also have a score to settle — specifically 21-14, the final count of their damaging home loss to the Panthers last season.
“We were on a roll, and those guys came into our house and beat us,” Bridgewater said. “They just outplayed us and did some things we had never seen. We were competing for a Big East championship and, because we lost to those guys, we ended up splitting it three ways.”
The Cardinals won three in a row before the Pitt game and the last two regular-season games afterward. The loss in between deprived them the outright title, forging an eventual tie with West Virginia and Cincinnati.
If Louisville ends up alone at the top this season, Bridgewater (plus West Virginia joining the Big 12) will be a big reason. The 2011 conference Rookie of the Year as a freshman, he has completed 73 percent of his passes — fourth nationally — for 1,134 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions. Although the odds are long, he is starting to generate some Heisman Trophy buzz.
With Bridgewater spreading the ball around, nine players have at least eight receptions, and the eight touchdown passes have hit seven different targets.
“He does a great job managing the offense,” Pitt defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable said. “He has a tremendously strong arm.”
Bridgewater has gained only 10 rushing yards, which might be misleading.
“He can really hurt you with his feet as well,” Huxtable said.
“I was impressed with him last year,” Pitt safety Andrew Taglianetti said. “Even as a freshman, I thought he did a good job. I thought he made good decisions. He is athletic. He gets the ball where it's supposed to be, and he has playmakers out there, especially on the edge.”
Bridgewater attended Miami's Northwestern High School, which sent quarterback Jacory Harris and others to the Hurricanes. He first committed to Miami but changed his mind after coach Randy Shannon was fired. Along with his Northwestern teammate, receiver Eli Rogers, he chose to be a Cardinal.
Bridgewater said he tries to pattern his game after former Florida State quarterback Charlie Ward, who led the Seminoles to the 1993 national championship and won the Heisman Trophy. It's an interesting choice for a role model considering that Bridgewater was 1 year old at the time.
“I read a lot about him and seen a lot of highlight clips,” Bridgewater said. “He was an exciting guy to watch. He did tremendous things, whether it was running the football or throwing it.”
Staff writer Jerry DiPaola contributed to this report. Bob Cohn is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7810.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt swingman Jones ready for breakout season
- Hempfield lineman Pilato chooses Pitt
- ACC notebook: Pitt predicted to finish 6th in Coastal Division
- ACC bracing for NCAA rules changes involving coaches and athletes
- Clemson’s Stoudt is one of the unheralded ACC QBs trying to break out
- Pitt hoops team will play in Bahamas
- Motivated by his upbringing, Pitt’s Boyd exceeding expectations
- Pitt safety Vinopal hopes extra conditioning pays off
- Pitt’s young football stars Boyd, Conner eye victories not awards
- With 4 starters back, Pitt’s offensive front looking for a rebound