Rogers credits "trust" for game-winning score

University of Louisville wide receiver Eli Rogers credits the trust that he and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater have developed since grade school for the opportunity to make the game-winning catch against South Florida.

Eli Rogers was one of Teddy Bridgewater's favorite targets throughout his high school career at Miami (Fla.) Northwestern and the two have continued that relationship during their first two years at the University of Louisville.

Like Bridgewater, Rogers contributed significantly as a true freshman in 2011. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound receiver started three games and led the Cardinals with 41 receptions for 454 yards.

"Our relationship on and off the field plays a big role in that," explained Rogers. "I trust him as a player and as a person, just like he trusts me. He knows that if I mess up, that I'm going to come back and make a great play."

On Saturday, against South Florida, the trust built between the two unfolded for all to see. Trailing 25-21, with 3:26 remaining in the game, Louisville was making a final drive in need of a game-winning touchdown. Facing a second-and-ten at the Bulls 49 yard line, Bridgewater threw a strike that had the appearance of a potential touchdown connection, but Rogers was unable to pull it in.

"It was a drop," Rogers said afterwards.

The drive remained alive when Bridgewater found Jeremy Wright for a 16-yard gain on the next play. Following a Bridgewater 11-yard run and personal foul on USF, the Cardinals found themselves at the Bulls 11 yard line. On the next play, Rogers made an excellent catch in the end zone for the go ahead touchdown.

"After the dropped pass, I was like, OK, you have to make a play, now. You can't dwell on the play that just happened, you have to focus on the next play."

The Cardinal's quarterback never doubted.

"That's all about trust," said Bridgewater. "He's one of those guys that I've been playing ball with since grade school. When he dropped the first one, I kind of shook my head but I knew he would make up for it because that's just how he is. With the play in the end zone, he did a great job of getting open and did a great job of coming down with the catch."

Rogers finished the game against South Florida with 4 receptions for 47 yards.

"I had a good performance, but it's not about me, it's about the team," he said. "Without the offensive line, without Teddy, without our receivers running routes, it wouldn't be possible for me to make a play. It's a great team effort."

"Without the whole offense there is no way that we could accomplish anything," he added.

Rogers is among a group of receivers that are each capable of stepping up and making a big play at any given time.

"Each week, a different receiver stands up," said U of L head coach Charlie Strong.

Rogers agrees.

"Every day we come out and compete. All of our receivers are great. Last week it was DeVante Parker. He's a great receiver with nice size. Then we have Damian Copeland, Andrell Smith, Scotty Radcliff, Charles Gaines and more, so we have a lot of depth at receiver and every one can contribute to the team."

Through seven games, Rogers has totaled 15 catches for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns.


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