Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 12/5/12
GAINESVILLE, Fla. When it comes to facing dual-threat quarterbacks, Floridas defense has earned a masters degree this season. Floridas first test against a mobile quarterback came in the Southeastern Conference opener, when Texas A&M Heisman hopeful Johnny Manziel drove the Aggies 65 yards on 15 plays on his opening series as a collegiate quarterback. Manziel connected on 6 of 8 passes and ran twice for 19 yards on the scoring drive, offering a glimpse of Johnny Football before anyone had heard of him. The Gators made the necessary adjustments and left College Station a 20-17 winner after limiting the Aggies to 65 yards of offense in the second half. Floridas performance against Manziel looked more impressive each week, as the Aggies redshirt freshman became a national sensation. It also prepared the Gators defense for what was to come. The Gators prepared regularly for quarterbacks who could make things happen on the run, from Vanderbilts Jordan Rodgers to South Carolinas Connor Shaw to Georgias Aaron Murray to Missouris James Franklin to Louisiana-Lafayettes Terrance Broadway and, finally, to Florida States EJ Manuel. Floridas only loss was to Georgia, despite preventing Murray (12 for 24, 150 yards, three interceptions) from taking over the game. The trend of Florida facing dual-threat quarterbacks will continue in the Sugar Bowl, where Louisville's dynamic Teddy Bridgewater awaits. Bridgewater starred at Miami Northwestern High before taking his talents to Derby City. The Cardinals earned only the second BCS bowl bid in school history on Thursday when Bridgewater led Louisville to a 20-17 win against Rutgers. Bridgewater threw for 263 yards and two touchdowns despite playing with a broken wrist and a severely sprained ankle. "That was a gutsy performance,'' Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "He's a guy who gets the ball in the right spot and is very accurate with the football. He's done a nice job for their football team. "And he's a winner. He's won a lot of football games directing their offense." Louisville coach Charlie Strong called Bridgewater's effort against Rutgers an "unbelievable performance." And that's saying something, since Strong has watched Bridgewater lead the Cardinals to a 15-4 record when he plays. Bridgewater has completed 69 percent of his passes for 3,452 yards, 25 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. He can also tuck the ball and run. Bridgewater rushed for 223 yards, but 180 of those were wiped out due to 23 sacks. "I look at college football and I know there's some athletic quarterbacks out there, but I think wherever the best one is, I think Teddy should be linked there with them," Strong said. The biggest question mark surrounding Bridgewater is how healthy he will be for the Sugar Bowl. While he played through the injuries against Rutgers, Strong said Bridgewater needs to time off to heal. "We've got to be smart on how we handle it, because we know his injuries and he'll need rest, and how much rest it will depend on just our medical staff just telling us what we need to do with him day-to-day,'' Strong said. "You look at last week, we only had four days to prepare for Rutgers and we were able to get ready in four. "We have enough weeks that we should be able to take our time. I know when we were preparing for Rutgers it was around the clock. We don't have to be around the clock because of the preparation we'll be able to have, but also we need to get Teddy healthy, especially facing an outstanding team like Florida." Bridgewater is ranked seventh in the country with a passer rating of 161.6 and has ample weapons as five Cardinals caught 30 or more passes this season. While the Cardinals' offense is dangerous, so is Florida's defense. The Gators ranked fifth nationally in total defense (283.4 yards per game) and first overall in pass efficiency defense. Muschamp said Florida's past tests should help in preparing for Bridgewater. "You play a little bit more zone and you have your eyes on the ball a little bit more and you try to fill in the rush lanes,'' Muschamp said. "You have to stay disciplined when you are rushing the passer against guys like him that are able to pull it down and hurt you running, as well."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Eddie Lacy defends Mike McCarthy for weight loss comments

Red Sox nearly had serious catcher emergency in loss to Tigers

Ohio State DL Dylan Thompson ineligible for season

Roger Federer will miss Olympics, U.S. Open with knee injury

Seahawks extend Pete Carroll through 2019

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye releases first statement following car crash

Report: Brock Osweiler could have made more money staying with Broncos

Andrew Luck: Feels `as good as I've ever felt` for training camp

Amar'e Stoudemire announces retirement after signing one-day contract with Knicks

Report: Gregory failed multiple drug tests since suspension

Olympian Abby Johnston: Worst thing about Olympic village is no Pokemon

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

Report: Paul Pierce to return to Clippers

Jimbo Fisher: You come to FSU to win national championships

Andre Johnson worked out for Tennessee Titans

Shattenkirk for Krejci trade rumor still floating around

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman denies link to C.T.E.

Michael Vick: Cam Newton can’t beat me in 40-yard dash

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

Odell Beckham Jr. says Giants will play in Super Bowl LI

Iowa researchers say they can optimize Monday Night Football ratings with scheduling

Terrelle Pryor can visit Ohio State as five-year ban comes to a close

Rudy Gay admits to having ‘no idea’ about what the Kings are doing

College Football 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 Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

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