The Louisville Cardinals have taken a 34-24 lead over the South Florida Bulls with excellent offensive execution and strong play from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. The freshman quarterback found behemoth tight end Josh Chichester in the back right of the end zone for a score at the 2:40 mark of the third quarter to take a 20-17 lead.
That lead was short-lived, however, as Lindsey Lamar returned the ensuing kickoff to the Louisville 37, giving the Bulls great field position. On the next play, quarterback Bobby Eveld sold a running play, only to pitch to running back Demetris Murray, who lofted a pass over a baffled Cardinals secondary to a wide-open Deonte Welch for a touchdown; only 19 seconds elapsed between Bridgewater's strike to Chicester and Murray's rainbow to Welch.
But Louisville has taken command in the fourth quarter. The Bulls began the period with a three-and-out. On its ensuing drive, Louisville went 57 yards for a touchdown, capped with Bridgewater's second touchdown pass of the afternoon to DeVante Parker, and his career-best third of the day. The teams traded punts for two possessions. USF's Andre Davis lost a fumble at the Bulls' 17 yard line.
Louisville needed just two more plays to add to its lead. Bridgewater scrambled for eight yards. On the next play, the Cardinals made a direct snap to running back Dominique Brown, who ran to his right behind excellent blocking, absorbed a hit near the right sideline at the one-yard line, and then surged forward for the touchdown.
The loss drops South Florida to 5-6, meaning it must win next Sunday's game against the West Virginia Mountaineers to finish at .500 and thus remain bowl-eligible. The Bulls have appeared in a bowl in each of the last six seasons, going 4-2 in those games.
Starting in place of the injured B.J. Daniels, Eveld struggled, completing 20-of-35 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown. He threw an inconsequential interception on the final snap of the game, a desperate heave to the endzone with no time remaining.
The Cardinals gained 132 yards rushing, led by Brown's 70-yard performance. He topped USF on his own, as the Bulls' 31 carries netted just 64 yards.