Louisville football 2013: Cardinals 'one of the best teams in college football'

Louisville is 'one of the best teams in college football'

12/29/13 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

For the third time in four years, Charlie Strong’s Louisville Cardinals have ended the college football season with a bowl victory—this time coming in a 36-9 statement win over Miami (Fla.) in the Russell Athletic Bowl. Blog Photo - Louisville football 2013: Cardinals 'one of the best teams in college football'

Louisville got a taste of what success in the ACC is like when it took it to its future co-member on Saturday night, finishing its first and final season with the American Athletic Conference.

With the win, the Cardinals will ride momentum into the offseason and should hold high expectations after winning 23 games since the start of 2012.

“I've been saying this the whole season: We're one of the best teams in college football,” said strong during the post-game press conference. “The way we played tonight, you can understand why.

“When you go into a conference, you always look at who are the top teams in that conference,” he continued. “I look at Miami, I look at Clemson, I look at Florida State and for us to get our program to where we need to get it to, those are the teams we have to measure up to.”

The biggest knock on Louisville—other than losing to Fiesta Bowl representative Central Florida—was that it hadn’t played a difficult schedule and its success couldn’t really be measured by wins and losses.

It seems as if the statement has been made that the Cards are here to stay after beating No. 3 in last year’s Sugar Bowl and then a program on the rise in Miami.

“I feel like we made a statement to the nation that we can play with anybody in the country,” said Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith. “I feel like no one really gives us a chance but every time we are faced with a quality opponent, I think we step up and make it happen.”

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was named game MVP after picking apart Miami’s defense on 35-of-45 (77.8 percent) passing for 447 yards and three touchdowns, while adding another score on the ground.

He knew just how important a win over Miami would be for Louisville’s program moving forward.

“Like (Marcus) said, we've been waiting all year for a quality opponent, not knocking the teams we face in our conference now, but no one ever respected our schedule,” said Bridgewater. “Coach says respect is something you have to take. We just felt that tonight we were able to go out there and earn the respect and take it.”

Respect earned, Teddy.

* All quotes were obtained first hand.
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