The better quarterback won the game Friday night.
No questions, no doubts.
Teddy Bridgewater helped engineer yet another come-from-behind victory, and John Wallace nailed a 30-yard field goal in overtime to help the No. 16 Cardinals snap a four-game losing streak to rival Cincinnati 34-31 and take back the Keg of Nails trophy on a soggy night in Louisville, Ky.
These two teams played a thriller down to the end, going back and forth with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. As with last week against South Florida, a Bridgewater pass gave the Cardinals (8-0, 3-0 Big East) their first lead since the first quarter -- this one a 64-yard touchdown to DeVante Parker with 1 minute, 56 seconds remaining in regulation.
But Munchie Legaux had more Munchie Magic in him, throwing a 26-yard score to Damon Julian to tie the game at 31 with 1:03 to go -- shades of the game-winning touchdown against Virginia Tech. But with the game on the line in overtime, Legaux threw an interception in the end zone -- his third of the night.
Louisville got into position for the winning kick. Coach Butch Jones, in the tried-and-true new trend to "ice the kicker," called timeout after the ball had been snapped. It turned out to be a bad snap, and Louisville got another shot. Wallace nailed his kick, and the Cardinals won their fourth consecutive game after trailing in the second half.
Indeed, Louisville is gaining a reputation as the Cardiac Cards because of the propensity to fall behind and then scramble to win in the end. The Cardinals did it against Southern Miss, against Pitt, against USF -- and now Cincinnati, a team that had owned this series of late. Indeed, the Bearcats owned a large portion of this game despite Legaux having another off night.
They were terrific rushing the football, finishing with 246 yards on the ground -- behind 175 yards from George Winn. Ralph David Abernathy IV was dynamic as well, with 204 all-purpose yards. They were able to get after Bridgewater in the first half, too. But the second half was a different story. Bridgewater ended up throwing for a career-high 416 yards -- this after going 9-of-22 for 154 yards and an interception in the first half.
Bridgewater went 15-of-19 for 262 yards with two touchdowns in the second half and clearly proved he was the best quarterback on the field. Remember, the talk going into this game surrounded comments Legaux made this week, saying he was better than Bridgewater and that he would prove it Friday night.
Well, Legaux certainly kept his team in the game, but his mistakes cost the Bearcats. Legaux finished 13-of-28 for 157 yards with three interceptions. Keep in mind, Louisville had three interceptions TOTAL going into this game. That means Legaux has five interceptions in his past two games, as the Bearcats (5-2, 1-1) have now dropped two straight.
As for Louisville, unless there is a major upset, the Cardinals will go into their regular-season finale against Rutgers undefeated. The schedule lays out nicely for this team, with games against Temple, Syracuse and Connecticut before what should be the de facto Big East championship game.