Are you Louisville fans breathing a sigh of relief right about now?
The No. 16 Cardinals survived a furious comeback bid from USF on Saturday, squeaking out a 27-25 victory. The game featured a wild fourth quarter that saw the lead change hands twice. First, USF scored 15 straight points to erase a 21-10 deficit and take a 25-21 lead with 3:09 remaining.
Then Louisville got the ball back. With the calm, cool and collected Teddy Bridgewater leading the way, the Cardinals answered right back. Bridgewater threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Eli Rogers with 1:35 remaining to retake the lead, 27-25. He had a critical third-down conversion in the drive, hitting Jeremy Wright for 16 yards on third-and-10 from the USF 49. But Louisville had its extra-point attempt blocked, giving USF one final chance to drive for the potential game-winning field goal.
USF drove down to its 47 but B.J. Daniels' Hail Mary was intercepted and the comeback bid fell short, with some questions that are sure to come Skip Holtz's way about his clock management. It was a valiant effort for a Bulls team (2-5, 0-3) that has now lost five straight, the longest losing streak in school history. Lindsey Lamar was terrific in a losing effort, running for 110 yards on 15 carries.
Bridgewater, though, came up huge when it counted. He finished the game 21-of-25 for 256 yards with two touchdowns. He also led the team with 74 yards rushing and was the huge reason Louisville was able to come back and win.
This is the way it has gone this season for the Cardinals, though. They play them close and find a way to win them in the end. They go into next week's huge showdown against Cincinnati at 7-0 but have to find a way to shore up a defense that has been way too inconsistent this season, particularly against spread looks. You know who likes to present spread looks?