Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater completed 19-of-21 passes for 257 yards and threw for three touchdowns to lead Louisville’s first unit to a 28-3 win in its spring game Saturday.
The reigning Big East Rookie of the Year put in a near-flawless performance. Both of his incompletions were because of drops. He threw touchdown passes to DeVante Parker, Andrell Smith and Dominique Brown before giving way to Will Stein in the fourth quarter.
Bridgewater took over as the starter last season in his fourth game and threw for 2,129 yards and 14 touchdowns last season as one of the most decorated freshmen quarterbacks in the country. Louisville coach Charlie Strong said the Miami native has the right mindset heading into his sophomore year.
”A lot of times when guys have had success so early, they get so full of themselves that they don’t want to listen,” Strong said. ”Teddy, he can still develop and get better. But he wants it – he wants to be coached.”
Strong singled out the play of defensive lineman Lorenzo Mauldin but the sophomore said he was no match for Bridgewater’s elusiveness.
”Teddy Bridgewater is, as they say, Houdini,” Mauldin said. ”When I run after him I know I’m not going to catch him.”
With only nine seniors, Mauldin said Bridgewater is rightfully the focal point of the program.
”Teddy deserves to be the face of this team, really, because he is a remarkable athlete,” Mauldin said.
Bridgewater’s favorite target on the day was senior Scott Radcliff, a former walk on. He finished with a game-high 119 yards on nine receptions.
”Ever since I got here Scott Radcliff has shown he’s a trustworthy guy,” Bridgewater said. ”He makes all the spectacular catches, the catches in traffic. He just never takes a day off.”
Bridgewater said he’s added 18 pounds and is now 213 pounds.
”Even though the weight protects you from hits, it also helps you in the passing game with arm strength and durability,” he said.
The scoreboard showed a much closer affair as Strong gave his second unit a three-touchdown advantage to start the game.
”I spotted the team 21 points because I just wanted to see if we could come back and our defense could hold them," he said.
The defense responded, holding the White team to just a field goal. Kicker John Wallace boomed home a 52-yarder in the second quarter.
Two Louisville offensive linemen were injured during the game. Senior Alex Kupper injured his left knee during the opening drive and was taken for an MRI. Freshman Ryan Mack took a helmet to the knee and did not return.
Louisville has finished 7-6 in both of Strong’s two seasons, earning a three-way share of the Big East title in 2011 after being picked to finish last in the preseason. Strong knows his team won’t be picked on the bottom again this year.
”I just know this, because of what we have coming back a lot of people think we should be picked (to win the Big East). But it’s all about us, just making sure we stay within ourselves … and not worry about what everyone says.”