Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  Last updated 1/3/13
NEW ORLEANS -- Florida fans clearly didn't want to be here, and their team responded in kind. In the biggest surprise of the college football bowl season and the largest upset in Sugar Bowl history, Louisville and their outstanding quarterback Teddy Bridgewater stunned the Gators 33 -23 in a game that wasn't as close as the final score indicated. In so doing, the Cardinals became the first 13-point underdog ever to win in New Orleans. They did it the old fashioned way: by hitting the Gators in the mouth early and never letting up. On the first play from scrimmage Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel threw an interception to Louisville sophomore cornerback Terell Floyd who ran it in for a touchdown. From there Louisville was off to the races, scoring on their second possession and their third, and then tacking on three more scores for good measure. If Florida hadn't run a kickoff back for a touchdown with 7:41 remaining and scored again with 5:00 to go, this one would have been a blowout. As it was, Bridgewater threw for 266 yards against a Florida defense that was ranked among the best in the country, and he converted nine of 14 third downs, allowing the Cardinals to win the time of possession battle by 11 minutes. It was arguably the biggest win in Louisville history, although head coach Charlie Strong still defers to the 1991 Fiesta Bowl win over Alabama. "If you look at this game, we were able to match up physically and overpower the No.3 team in the country," Strong said. "We left a lot of points out there, but still our whole team, just loved their performance." There was a lot to love. The Cardinals defense sacked Driskel three times for 33 yards and allowed the Gators to convert only three third downs. Jeremy Wright, who led Louisville in rushing with 103 yards said, "There was never any doubt in our minds that we could win this game. We believed from the beginning, and that belief carried us tonight." Belief and one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the nation will go a long away. "In order to change the culture of a program, our fans are going to have to change it," Strong said. "This evening they took that step, just like we took a step and made a statement for next season." By the opening kickoff of next year 200,000 Louisville fans will swear they saw this one in person. And they will be lying. In fact, fans set a record for not being here. This was the smallest Sugar Bowl crowd since 1939 when 44,308 saw TCU beat Carnegie Tech 15-7. Back then, Tulane Stadium only held 49,000. The next year they built an upper deck, expanding capacity to 70,000 and the Sugar Bowl sold out. If 50,000 people saw this one in person (counting the bands) I'll eat a fried gator. Louisville traveled as well as could be expected for a 13-point underdog. More than half the attendees were wearing Cardinal red. It was the Florida contingent that was embarrassingly small. According to the Orlando Sentinal, Florida sold fewer than 7,000 tickets from their official allotment of 17,500.The Sugar Bowl committee didn't make up the slack as there were empty seats on the 40 yard line in the Florida section, and an entire upper deck end zone that never saw a soul. For some unfathomable reason, the Gator Nation has become the Gator neighborhood. And just as Louisville is relying on their fan base to change the culture, Florida's could change the culture of that program as well, and not in a good way. Not to take anything away from Louisville's performance, but Florida played this Sugar Bowl like they wanted to be home with their fans. "We got outplayed and outcoached," Will Muschamp said. "That's the bottom line. If you go out and get beat, you get beat. That's what happened." In the process of getting beat, the Gators had a school record 98 yards in penalties, including two personal foul penalties on the opening kickoff of the second half that led to one ejection and another Bridgewater touchdown. "I've said it before: Teddy is one of the best quarterbacks in the country," Strong said. "If you look out on that field tonight, you look at what Florida has, you look at what we have, he was the best player on the field." No one would argue that point, just as everyone who saw the game would agree that Louisville had the best team. No, the problem doesn't lie with the people who saw this one: it lies with the people who didn't. Because if a team's fans don't care enough to come to the games, how can't expect the players to care about winning them?
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Winners and losers of Astros' ALCS victory over Yankees

Steph Curry may face suspension for throwing mouthpiece at ref

Alex Cora reportedly getting three-year deal from Red Sox

Kristaps Porzingis wants to see changes from Knicks before committing long-term

Bobby Portis apologizes for role in Nikola Mirotic fight

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tennessee fans fly banner: 'Butch your mom still loves you'

Steelers rack up $94K in fines for penalties against the Chiefs

Kyrie Irving has no regrets about cursing at heckler who taunted him about LeBron

Tennessee's Rashaan Gaulden flips double bird to 'Bama fans, down by 22 points

WATCH: Adrian Killins injured after crashing into goat bucket

Twitter reacts to Adrian Killins leaving everyone in dust on 79-yard TD

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

Cardinals News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Houston Astros hold off Yankees, forcing Game 7

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker