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No.21 Louisville Faces Huge Test Against No.3 Florida In Sugar Bowl

SHELBYVILLE, KY –

There are many words that can describe the feelings of Louisville Cardinals football fans today after learning last night that their beloved team will take on the #3 Florida Gators (11-1) in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on January 2, 2013 at 8:30pm ET. Some are elated to take on the big challenge ahead while others are upset due to having to cancel their reservations in Miami. It was pretty much written in stone that the Cards would be tailgating close to the infamous South Beach, until the Northern Illinois Huskies snuck into the BCS top 16 after beating Kent State in the MAC Championship game. It’s a shame that teams like Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and South Carolina miss out on BCS games after the kinds of years they had but we won’t get into that debate.

(Picture courtesy onlygators.com)

A quick look at the Gators shows many good reasons that Louisville opened up as 15 point underdogs to Head Coach Charlie Strong’s old team. When you talk about the Florida Gators you have to speak of the speed on the defense and guys making plays everywhere on the field. There are top notch four and five star recruits at every position in the two deep depth chart. The Gators defense gave up a measly 12.9 points per game this season (3rd in FBS), 97 yards rushing (6th in FBS) and 186.4 yards (15th in FBS) passing per game. They are 5th in the FBS giving up only 283.42 total yards per game but 1st in the FBS in passing efficiency defense. There’s no getting around it, the Cardinal offense will have to perform flawlessly to have a chance in this one.

(Picture of FL tacklers courtesy cbssports.com)

If Louisville fans were thinking that the Gators might be overlooking the Cards or not be “up” for this game, they need to rethink it.  "We're honored to play in New Orleans,'' Gators coach Will Muschamp said Sunday night. “New Orleans is a great place with a lot of Gators." "Our guys were really jacked up after we beat Florida State,'' "We knew we would be in a BCS game. We have great motivation for this game regardless of the circumstances."Muschamp also has a lot of respect for his counterpart, Charlie Strong. "He does it the right way,'' Muschamp said. "Just got a lot of respect for him, he’s one of the good guys in this profession." Meanwhile, Strong is no stranger to the Sugar Bowl. He was Florida’s defensive coordinator in 2009 when the Gators beat Cincinnati by a score of 51-24. Strong still respects Florida as a program and feels the excitement of the Sugar Bowl, past and present. "It seems like it was yesterday we were in the Sugar Bowl playing Cincinnati,'' Strong said. "It's a program of excellence. I really enjoyed my time there. I watch this program every week.'' Strong talked about what the Sugar Bowl meant for his Cardinals. “It’s great for this program and it’ll be a great stage for our kids.” “Now we have a chance to play in our second BCS bowl in program history. I’m so happy for this program, this university and this city.”

(Picture of Charlie Strong courtesy usatoday.com)

Strong has quickly rebuilt Louisville, but he knows the talent Florida has will be difficult to match. It helps that Louisville has 34 Floridians on its roster, including Miami native and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. "This is a team that was one game away from playing for a national title,'' Strong said of the Gators. "We're nowhere near that right now. We're taking small steps here. We have laid a foundation." Sugar Bowl CEO, Paul Hoolahan had this to say about the matchup: "The Sugar Bowl Committee has worked hard over the years to present outstanding matchups that produce thrilling games.” In Will Muschamp and Charlie Strong, we have two of the country’s top young coaches and we know both will have their teams ready to play on January 2nd. We have little doubt that this game will produce another memorable chapter in the great history of the Sugar Bowl.” This will be the third meeting all time between the Cards and Gators. Florida won both previous games, 31-17 in 1992 and 13-0 in 1980. Card fans always talk about wanting respect and better opponents and better opportunities. Well, you got what you wished for now let’s see how you handle it. If you have never been to a bowl game and always wanted to, this is the one you have been waiting for.

Contact Rick and Jeff Tours for many great travel packages to New Orleans. You can also find them on Facebook.

Views: 187

Tags: Allstate, Bowl, Cardinaldominance, Cardinals, Charlie, Florida, Gators, Louisville, Muschamp, New, More…Orleans, Shane, Stovall, Strong, Sugar, Will

Comment by dimori on December 3, 2012 at 3:38pm

This is a good preview of what to expect from One of The Best Defenses,It will be a Big Test for The Card OL

Comment by P Streble Sr. on December 4, 2012 at 6:01am

This game will be a good chance for the Card players from the state of Florida to show they can play head to head with many of the players they lined up against in high school.  The DL will need to come to play and stop or contain the running game.    The Cards can make a game of it, IF, they do not turn the ball over and IF, they can move the football somewhat.  Can't afford a lot of 3 and outs.  Good luck Cards!!

Comment by Shane Stovall on December 4, 2012 at 12:04pm
Very true Streble...the Cards must be able to run the ball for a minimum of 3 ypc and keep the play calling balanced. Teddy can move the ball on this defense but they will need to use lots of drags and quick hitters, allowing outside WR's to lay some blocks. They must pick the right downs to go deep too ie. 2nd and shorts and occasional 1st downs. I'm not extremely worried about their offense but the D will need to make sure to contain the edges and wrap up.
Comment by sherise brown on December 4, 2012 at 2:52pm

Life is a fight, an in that fight it does'nt matter how hard you get hit or how well you fight. what matters is how hard you can get hit an keep on fighting!!. GO cards keep the faith you have come a long way , don't turn back now .the greater the challenge the sweetter the victory. practice hard stay focus take chances, do what you have to win. keep the courage an the will to win.!! birds fly high . good luck an i believe in you, fight til the end. gotta believe...opponents smell fear

Comment by Jim Wetherton on December 4, 2012 at 9:39pm

Sugar is the traditional SEC Bowl game and it means a lot to any SEC team.  I don't expect a letdown for UF because they are playing a much lower ranked opponenet and are not in the Title game.   The UF-FSU game is one of two to look at closely.  FSU had 6 a9I think (to's) and had their defense on the field over 18 of the first 25 minutes.   They wore out and were gassed by 4th quarter.  Offense has to be D's best friend and keep the ball for both minutes and field position.  Any UL TO's will be costly and if on the wrong side of the 50 will be deadly.

 

UF can be TO  prone as they showd in th GA game, so we need to borrow some tape and game prep from Mark Richt & CO.  Go Cards!  I WILL BE THERE!!!  Will U?

Comment by sherise brown on December 4, 2012 at 10:04pm
All aboard !! Rise up to the occasion...i believe ..ill be there also ..thats my hometown .go cards all the way!!!
Comment by Shane Stovall on December 5, 2012 at 7:19pm
Great posts Sherise, I agree with everything you said. I should be there hopefully many of you will too!

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