PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Teddy Bridgewater couldn’t take a snap from center because of a broken wrist, and had a hitch in his step because of a sore ankle.
The Louisville quarterback was too banged-up to start, but more than well enough to finish off Rutgers and send the Cardinals to the Bowl Championship Series.
Bridgewater came off the bench to throw two-second half touchdown passes, and John Wallace kicked a 29-yard field goal with 1:41 left to give Louisville a 20-17 victory against Rutgers on Thursday night in what was essentially the Big East championship game.
In a game between one team headed to the Big Ten and another bound for the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Big East handed out its second-to-last BCS bid to a school that entered the league during its last massive rebuild in 2005 and watched its athletic program blossom.
The Cardinals will be going to the BCS for the second time, first since 2006. Either the Orange or Sugar Bowl will be the destination.
Louisville (10-2, 5-2) will share this Big East title with Rutgers (9-3, 5-2), Syracuse and possibly even Cincinnati, but those guys only get a banner. The Cardinals get the ticket to the big game. The BCS standings will be used to break the tie and there is no doubt Louisville, with the best overall record in the conference, will be on top.
Bridgewater didn’t start a week after getting roughed up in a loss to Connecticut. He broke his left wrist and sprained his right ankle. He entered for the first time against Rutgers in the second quarter and finished 20 for 28 for 263 yards and threw a pair of TD passes in the third quarter to wipe out a 14-3 deficit.
“They have a tremendous playmaker at the quarterback position,” first-year Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said. “We just weren’t able to match him in the end.”