Benavides, Strong, Bridgewater land honors

The University of Louisville football team is headed to the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl to face Florida. The Cardinals are 10-2 and have already picked up a few postseason awards. Here is an update on a few from Monday:


University of Louisville senior center Mario Benavides has been selected as one of six finalists for the annual Rimington Trophy, which goes to the nation's most outstanding center during the season.

Benavides is joined by Alabama's Barrett Jones, Notre Dame's Braxston Cave, Clemson's Dalton Freeman, Southern California's Khaled Holmes and Penn State's Matt Stankiewitch on the list.

A native of Los Fresnos, Texas, Benavides is the first player for U of L ever named a Rimington finalist. He's a four-year starter for the Cardinals and has started 46 games, including 21 in a row for U of L.

The winner of the Rimington Trophy is selected by determining the consensus All-America center pick from four existing All-America teams including the American Football Coaches Association, The Walter Camp Foundation, The Sporting News and the Football Writers Association of America.

The winner will be announced on Thursday.


U of L third-year head coach Charlie Strong led the Cardinals to a 10-2 record, second straight Big East Conference championship and a berth into the Sugar Bowl. For his efforts, Strong has been named as one of the American Football Coaches Association Regional Coach of the Year.

Strong, who has guided the Cardinals to a 24-14 record in three seasons, led the Cardinals to their first 10-win season since 2006 and the school's second BCS Bowl game. The Cardinals play Florida on Jan. 2 in the Sugar Bowl.

Strong was named Region 1 Coach of the Year.


U of L sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been named Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Playing with a broken left wrist and sprained left ankle, Bridgewater completed 20 of 28 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns. He helped the Cardinals rally for a 20-17 victory and part of the Big East Conference title.

Bridgewater didn't start the game.

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