Thursday, November 29, 2012
Instant analysis: Louisville 20, Rutgers 17
By Kieran Darcy
PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- A look at Louisville's 20-17 victory Thursday over Rutgers:
What it means: Rutgers, on the verge of winning its first Big East championship and first-ever BCS bowl game bid, let it all slip away.
The Scarlet Knights, playing at home, and with a 14-3 lead at halftime, found a way to lose.
The Cardinals (10-2, 5-2 Big East) will now share the Big East title with Rutgers, Syracuse and possibly Cincinnati. More important, though, Louisville almost certainly will get the conference's automatic BCS bid, which will be determined by the final BCS standings.
The Scarlet Knights (9-3, 5-2 Big East) will go to a lesser bowl game, and will have to get over the most disappointing loss in school history.
It was over when: Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova was intercepted by Louisville cornerback Terell Floyd with under two minutes remaining. The Scarlet Knights were near midfield, not far from being able to attempt a potential game-tying field goal. But Nova and wideout Brandon Coleman apparently had a miscommunication, and Nova threw the ball into the hands of a diving Floyd.
The Scarlet Knights were doomed by three second-half turnovers -- two interceptions and a fumble on a kickoff. That fumble enabled Louisville to score two touchdowns in 16 seconds late in the third quarter to take the lead, 17-14.
Game ball goes to: Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who played despite a broken wrist in his non-throwing arm and a sprained ankle. Bridgewater did not start, but played the bulk of the game, finishing 20-for-28 for 263 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. He was hobbling out there, but made big plays when he needed to in a truly gutty performance.
Stat of the game: Louisville dominated the time of possession, having the ball for 42:11 of the 60 minutes. The Cardinals had 22 first downs, to just nine for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers scored its two touchdowns on two big passing plays in the first half, one that went for 85 yards, the other 68. Other than that, Louisville's defense was dominant.
What's next: We wait to see which Big East team gets the BCS bid, likely to the Orange or Sugar Bowl. The pairings will be announced Sunday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN.