79th Allstate Sugar Bowl Game Notes
* Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was the Miller-Digby Award recipient honoring the game’s most valuable player after completing 20-of-32 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns en route to a 33-23 Cardinal victory.
* The 38-yard interception return for a touchdown by Louisville’s Terell Floyd in the first quarter was the first interception return for a touchdown in a BCS game since Oklahoma’s Tony Jefferson returned one 22 yards for a score vs. Connecticut in the 2011 Fiesta Bowl. It was the first in a Sugar Bowl since Georgia’s Bruce Thornton scored on a 71-yard return vs. Florida State in 2003. The score also was the Cardinals’ first defensive touchdown this season.
* Floyd’s interception return was the first defensive score to start a Sugar Bowl since Fordham recorded a first-quarter safety in a 2-0 victory over Missouri in 1942.
* Louisville scored on the first play from scrimmage in each half with Floyd’s interception return in the first quarter and Damian Copeland’s 19-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter.
* The 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Florida’s Andre Debose in the fourth quarter was the longest in Sugar Bowl history and tied for the longest in BCS history. The previous long return in the Sugar Bowl was a 93-yard return for a score by Al Hunter of Notre Dame vs. Alabama in 1973. Iowa’s C.J. Jones had the other 100-yard effort in BCS play, returning the opening kickoff for a score vs. Southern California in the 2003 Orange Bowl. Debose also had the Gators’ last kickoff return for a score, going 99 yards vs. Ohio State in the 2012 Gator Bowl.
* Florida’s Sharrif Floyd registered the first blocked field goal in a Sugar Bowl game since 1968 when he blocked a 41-yard attempt by Louisville’s John Wallace in the third quarter. LSU’s Sammy Grezaffi blocked a Wyoming field goal in the 1968 Sugar Bowl. The Gators also blocked a Wallace PAT in the third quarter.
* Tonight’s game marked the first time since the 2011 season that Florida has allowed 30 or more points in a game with that coming in a 54-32 victory over Furman on Nov. 19, 2011. Florida State was the only team to score more than 20 points against the Gators during the 2012 season in the Gators’ 37-26 victory. Tonight’s game marked the most points allowed by Florida in a bowl game since a 41-35 loss to Michigan in the 2008 Capital One Bowl.
* Louisville’s victory is the first Sugar Bowl win by a Big East team (based on current conference members) since Pittsburgh beat Georgia 27-23 in 1982. It’s also the Cardinals’ first win against a team ranked in the top five since a 44-34 victory over third-ranked West Virginia in 2006.
* Louisville is 14-0 when scoring 30 or more points under Charlie Strong, including 7-0 this season. The Cardinals are 135-14 since 1980 when scoring 30 or more points.
* Caleb Sturgis’ 33-yard field goal in the second quarter was his 24th trey made this season and made him Florida’s all-time single-season leader in field goals. Sturgis owns three of Florida’s top four single-season marks for field goals made. He also owns the Gator career mark for field goals made with 70.
* Florida’s 24-3 second-quarter deficit was the Gators’ largest deficit ever in a Sugar Bowl. Florida also trailed by 23 points (33-10) in the fourth quarter. The largest prior deficit was a 20-0 deficit through three quarters in a 20-18 loss to Missouri in 1966.
* Louisville’s 24 first-half points were the most in the first half of a bowl game since scoring 24 in a 34-31 loss to Boise State in the 1999 Humanitarian Bowl.
* The Cardinals did not allow a third-down conversion to Florida until the fourth quarter. The Gators were 0-for-6 on third down before Omarius Hines’ 15-yard run converted a 3rd and 11 in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Louisville converted on 8 of its first 10 third-down conversions and finished 9-of-14 on third down.
* The Cardinals are 6-0 when scoring first as well as when leading at halftime this season.
* Louisville is the 50th different institution to participate in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
* In making its ninth Allstate Sugar Bowl appearance, Florida tied Georgia for the third-most Allstate Sugar Bowl appearances behind only Alabama and LSU, which each boast 13 appearances. The Gators are 3-6 in those outings.
* Louisville is 8-8-1 in bowls all-time, and the Cardinals are 2-0 in BCS bowl games, having beaten Wake Forest (24-13) in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 2, 2007. Florida is 20-20 all-time in bowl games and is 5-2 in BCS bowl games, tying for the third-most BCS appearances of any school. The Gators also had their school-record four-game bowl winning streak snapped.
* Florida is 2-1 in the series between the schools and had won both prior meetings, winning 13-0 in 1980 and 31-17 in 1992 with both of those meetings coming during the regular season in Gainesville, Fla.
* Both head coaches, Charlie Strong of Louisville and Will Muschamp made their first Sugar Bowl appearances as head coaches, but both have made previous Sugar Bowl appearances as assistant coaches. Strong was an assistant coach at Florida for Sugar Bowl appearances in 1992, 1994, 1995 and 2010, while Muschamp was an assistant coach at LSU for the Tigers’ 2002 and 2004 appearances. Strong owns a 2-1 bowl record with the Cardinals while Muschamp is 1-1 in bowls as the Gators’ mentor.