Bridgewater, engagement and new quarterback emerge in Homecoming loss
With about 11 minutes to go in the second quarter, as USF trailed No. 20 Louisville 10-3, former Bulls quarterback Matt Grothe went down on one knee — to propose to his girlfriend on the sidelines.
She said yes.
That was probably when the fan cheers were at its loudest throughout USF’s 34-3 Homecoming loss to the Cardinals.
The Bulls were 21-point underdogs going into the game, and apparently that was generous as Louisville’s junior quarterback, and Heisman candidate, Teddy Bridgewater did what he has been doing the entire season – pick apart defenses.
By halftime, Bridgewater’s passes went 12-of-14 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. At that point, he had thrown to four different receivers.
“He’s so poised, he’s tough and he’s smart,” USF coach Willie Taggart said. “That team plays for him.”
At the final whistle, Bridgewater was 25-of-29 for 344 yards and three touchdowns through methodical drives that the Cardinals were producing all afternoon, eating up the clock.
With a time of possession of nearly 42 minutes to USF’s 18, the opportunities to score were few and far between as the defense did its best to put pressure on Bridgewater.
Getting to the quarterback didn’t seem to be an issue totaling five sacks in the game, three on Bridgewater and two on his backup that came in late in the fourth quarter.
Senior linebacker DeDe Lattimore led the effort with two sacks for a total loss of 24 yards.
“I thought the first half (the defense) kept it close for us,” Taggart said. “I think a big reason they kept scoring so many points is because we didn’t get anything going offensively.”
Taggart said he’s always been impressed by Lattimore and his ability to lead and make plays.
Unfortunately, he said, those play makers are lacking on the offense.
At halftime, in the midst of Bridgewater’s performance, USF totaled 25 yards of offense, 22 coming through the air from senior quarterback Bobby Eveld, who went down with an ankle injury late in the second quarter.
The other three came from redshirt sophomore running back Willie Davis, who shared carries with true freshman running back Darius Tice.
The duo combined for 57 total yards compared to Louisville running back Dominique Brown, who ran for 134 yards on 18 carries.
With Eveld injured, sophomore Steven Bench came back to the field after suffering a knee injury Oct. 5 against Cincinnati.
Bench went 3-of-5 on the day.
Then, with 7:50 remaining in the game on what could be his last pass of the season, the transfer threw an interception that was ran back for a 70-yard touchdown – the last score of the game.
That’s when Taggart made the decision to put freshman quarterback Mike White into the game, burning his redshirt.
“We just tried to get something to spark on our offense,” Taggart said. “We all know that’s the biggest issue on this football team. I wanted to see what the kid can do for us and he’s going to get the opportunity again next week.”
White may take the helm of the Bulls offense heading into Texas to take on Houston on Thursday night at 7 p.m.
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