Bridgewater leads No. 7 Louisville past Temple
Teddy Bridgewater played at an NFL stadium like a future No. 1 pick.
He will be a regular in that setting soon enough.
He looked comfortable playing at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, one of the many teams on hand scouting the junior who could be the top pick in next year's draft.
Yes, it's been easy for most quarterbacks to pick apart the Owls, but Bridgewater was particularly on point. He found the open receivers, hit them in double coverage, and scrambled when he needed to make throws on the run.
''It was a great outing,'' he said. ''I probably left a few completions out on the field.''
Bridgewater dominated against the overwhelmed Owls (0-5, 0-2 American Athletic Conference). He threw for 228 yards in the first half to help the Cardinals roll to a 24-0 lead.
The Cardinals (5-0, 1-0) lost a bid for their second straight shutout when Temple scored with 38 seconds left.
The defense held the Owls to 255 yards - and gave Bridgewater plenty of shots on offense.
''I feel like he's the Peyton Manning of college football,'' Louisville defensive end Marcus Smith said.
Louisville receiver DeVante Parker, who has six touchdown catches this season, left in the first half with an injured right shoulder. Without one of his favorite targets, Bridgewater was still impressive, completing 25 of 35 passes. He threw a TD pass for the 17th straight game.
He completed 15 of his first 17 attempts, and the Owls had no way to stop him.
''I'm the eye of the hurricane,'' he said. ''The eye of the hurricane is the calmest part of the storm. That's something I try to compare myself to.''
Hurricane Teddy wrecked the Owls.
Under first-year coach Matt Rhule, the Owls remained winless in program history against top-10 teams.
Bridgewater wasted no time giving the Owls a taste of the 60 minutes of trouble ahead. On the opening drive, he hit Ryan Hubbell for a 36-yard reception that put the Cardinals on the 5. He made the Owls bite on a fake rush, then rolled to his right and hit an open Gerald Christian for the 1-yard touchdown.
Bridgewater was 7 of 9 for 133 yards and a TD in the quarter, and John Wallace added a 22-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.
Parker, who had two catches for 44 yards, left in the quarter holding his shoulder. He'll have an MRI on Sunday.
It was more of the same for Louisville in the second quarter. Dominique Brown had a 2-yard TD run and Bridgewater found Eli Wallace for a 15-yard score to send the Cardinals into halftime with 325 yards of total offense and a 24-0 lead.
Coach Charlie Strong knows just how NFL ready his top prospect is at running a pro-style offense. Asked where Bridgewater can improve, he simply said, ''Well, there's one (pass) he didn't make.''
Unfortunately for the Owls, there were 25 he did complete.
The only surprise may have been that the final score wasn't worse. After all, the last time Louisville played Temple (2006) at Lincoln Financial Field, the Cardinals won 62-0. Bridgewater tied a career high with five touchdown passes last season in a 45-17 win over the Owls.
''Sometimes you like a game like this,'' Strong said. ''When you feel like you're such a heavy favorite, then don't go out and perform up to that level, it's good for them to understand the only way you can play is you've got to play your best.''
The Owls had already lost this season to Fordham and Idaho, so there was little reason for optimism they'd pull off the shocker of the season.
Temple has only two wins against 87 ranked opponents in program history.
''The first half was not what we wanted offensively or defensively,'' Rhule said. ''But that second half showed what we will be some day.''
Rhule benched junior QB Connor Reilly in the second quarter after he started 3 of 7 for 25 yards. Freshman P.J. Walker gave the offense an instant jolt with a 58-yard pass to Robby Anderson that put the Owls on the 12.
The Owls had a 23-yard field goal attempt blocked.
Walker forced a throw into double coverage in the third quarter and had his pass intercepted in the end zone. He threw a 9-yard TD pass to Jalen Fitzpatrick with 38 seconds left in the game.
''It was decent, but it wasn't good enough,'' Walker said. ''I could have done a lot better. I made a few mistakes and I should have played a lot better.''
Wallace added field goals of 20 and 25 yards in the second half.
''We kind of stalled in the second half,'' Bridgewater said. ''That's where we played down to the opponent's level.''