Season Report Card: Louisville
For Bridgewater, it was the expectancy to throw for 400 yards and five touchdowns every time he stepped on the field against questionable non-conference opponents and a weak American Athletic Conference schedule.
Of course, Louisville was the media favorite to run away with the AAC and possibly make a dark horse run to the BCS National Championship Game, had its easy-breezy scheduled allowed it.
Neither of those things happened, so to the average eye, the Cardinals’ 12-1 (7-1) season was a bit of a disappointment—but was it really?
Here’s how Louisville’s final report card for the 2013 season panned out:
Taking Louisville’s 103rd-ranked strength of schedule into account, its offense was smooth and effective, scoring points when needed and effectively moving the football. Teddy Bridgewater could possibly be the first quarterback taken in the 2014 NFL Draft, and really showcased his talents by having a firm grasp on the offense and the schematics that came with it. He completed 71.0 percent of his passes for 3,970 yards, 31 touchdowns and four interceptions as the Cardinals scored a potent 35.2 points per game in 2013.
If you take away the second-half collapse against Central Florida, the Louisville defense allowed an average of just 10.0 points over the course of 12 games. Not only did it keep opponents out of the end zone, but it was No. 1 in the nation in total defense (251.5 yards allowed) and was key to helping the offense winning the time of possession (No. 2 overall).
Special Teams: B+
While Louisville was shaky on kickoff defense and average with the return game, it did finish with the country’s best punt return coverage team—the Cardinals allowed a total of 15 yards on 13 returns.
Anytime the Texas Longhorns want to hire you as their head coach, you’ve done something right. Charlie Strong really built this program into championship caliber, getting everything he could out of Bridgewater and putting the Cardinals into a great position moving forward to the Atlantic Coastal Conference.
Louisville didn’t achieve a 13-0 season, but that shouldn’t mean fans should hang their heads. 98 percent of all college programs would do anything for a 12-win year, and it’s not like UCF was a bad football team—the Knights did end up winning something called the Fiesta Bowl… or something.
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