A WINNING HOMECOMING
With 40 players on the roster from the state of Florida, it was a homecoming for many of the University of Louisville football players.
Dozens of fans lined the edge of the stands after the game, waving and hugging players from the area. U of L quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said even those players from areas in South Florida had plenty of friends at the game.
"It's very, very special," Bridgewater said. "It's not that often that our families are able to visit us and see a game in Louisville. So this is great.
"It makes it feel like a home game away from home."
U of L currently has several commitments from the area and is actively recruiting a bunch of other prospects from the surrounding area.
"We are always going to come down here and recruit," U of L coach Charlie Strong said. "I don't know if this tightens any grips for us (in recruiting).
"But we are still going to come here and recruit."
CHRISTIAN WAS WIDE OPEN
Bridgewater's second touchdown pass was a 69-yard strike to tight end Gerald Christian and might have been one of his easiest of the season.
Using play action, Bridgewater rolled left and found a wide open Christian. The closest defender was 12 yards away.
Christian caught the pass, stiff-armed a defender inside the 20-yard line and reached the end zone. It was his fourth TD catch of the season.
"That play has been working for us all season," Bridgewater said. "Those guys executed their assignments and it opened up.
"That's we expect of everyone does their jobs."
ANOTHER BIG DAY FOR TEDDY
Bridgewater was 25 of 29 for 344 yards and three touchdowns and has now thrown a TD pass in 20 straight games.
The junior from Miami tied a career-high by completing a pass to 11 different receivers. He also threw two or more TDs for the 21st time in his career.
But he was sacked three times in the game and was hit hard several times early in the game by the Bulls' defense.
"I was pretty disappointed," about the early sacks. "I try to stay clean the entire game but things happen. I just had to get back up, brush it off and move onto the next play. The line responded well."
Bridgewater has now completed 179 of 243 passes for 2,557 yards and 23 TDs this season. He's now just 160 yards behind Dave Ragone to move into third place on the school's all-time passing list.
QUICK BECOMING A QUICK LEARNER
After not using freshman James Quick much in the first five games, the Kentucky Mr. Football now has a catch in three straight games.
Quick, who scored on a fumble recovery on the punt team last week, hauled in a short pass and ran 31 yards in the third quarter against the Bulls.
"He's found a nice little place," U of L offensive coordinator Shawn Watson said. "He's comfortable with his assignments and he's starting to play fast. You are starting to feel him on the field where a few weeks ago, you didn't feel him at all. We got after him and told him it was his time.
"Now, he's stepped up big time and I am real proud of him."
A FEW LEFTOVERS
**Offensive lineman Nacho Garcia went down early in the game with a left knee injury. Strong said he would be evaluated when the team returns home.
**Fullback B.J. Butler was on the sidelines but did not play. Wide receiver Kai De La Cruz missed the game with a hamstring injury.
**Backup quarterback Will Gardner completed his only pass for nine yards. He's now 8 of 12 on the season for 112 yards.
**Hakeem Smith started his 46th straight game at safety, while Calvin Pryor started for the 28th straight time at safety and Preston Brown the 26th at linebacker for the U of L defense.
**Defensive end Marcus Smith had two sacks and now has 17.5 for his career, which ranks No. 8 all-time in school history.
**Charles Gaines' 70-yard interception return for a TD was the first pick six for the U of L defense since the opening play of the Sugar Bowl.