Jan. 2, 2013
Louisville (10-2) vs. Florida (11-1)
Louisville's key player: QB Teddy Bridgewater
Two weeks ago, Bridgewater suffered a broken wrist and a sore ankle and still managed to get the Cardinals into a BCS game by beating Rutgers 20-17 last Thursday. Now, Bridgewater has some time to heal before facing the daunting task of trying to create similar magic against a Florida defense that ranks No. 5 nationally. If Bridgewater is healthy, the Cardinals have a chance to pull off an upset. But if he isn't, the game could get out of hand as the Florida defense tries to put him on the sidelines for good.
Florida's key player: RB Mike Gillislee
Gillislee came on strong in the final two games of the season with two 100-yard performances. He might not be the flashiest player, but what he does is take pressure off quarterback Jeff Driskel. Driskel has struggled with injuries and having a strong rushing threat in the backfield makes Florida a dangerous team. The Gators were at their best this season against LSU and Florida State and in both contests, Gillislee played a huge role in the running game.
An early look at the matchup: Florida is going to be the favorite in the game and rightfully so. It's played a tougher schedule and is more balanced on both sides of the ball. As noted above. Louisville will go as Bridgewater goes. Backup quarterback Will Stein played well against Rutgers, but he needed to roll out and move the pocket to generate offense. The fact that coach Charlie Strong opted for a 40 percent Bridgewater over a 100 percent Stein was very telling. If Bridgewater is healthy, this game has the possibility of being a lot closer than many anticipate.
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