TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Teddy Bridgewater is determined to not let No. 18 Louisville stumble again.
The junior quarterback continued his stellar play, throwing for 344 yards and three touchdowns Saturday to help the Cardinals rebounded from their first loss of the season with a 34-3 rout of South Florida.
"We did what we said we wanted to do, and I feel that we have the type of team that we said we are," Bridgewater said. "We showed our maturity by bouncing back and responding well. It was a great performance overall."
Charles Gaines returned a fourth-quarter interception 70 yards for a TD as the Cardinals' defense reverted to the form that helped Louisville (7-1, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) climb into the top 10 before blowing a 21-point, second-half lead at home during a 38-35 loss to Central Florida.
Bridgewater completed 25 of 29 passes with no interceptions, hiking his totals for the season to 23 TDs with two picks. In three career games against USF (2-5, 2-1), the Miami native has gone 65 of 82 for 841 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions.
"It's all about your mental toughness and being able to bounce back, and we were able to bounce back," Louisville coach Charlie Strong said. "It's always good that you see your team come together. We knew what we had to go get accomplished, and they were able to do it. ... You can't let that one game beat you twice, and we weren't going to let that game last week beat us again."
USF failed to score an offensive touchdown for the third straight game, all in conference play. The Bulls used three quarterbacks and were outgained 485 yards to 133.
Now they're making another change.
First-year Coach Willie Taggart said freshman Mike White, who got into the game in the fourth quarter, will become the fourth different starting QB in eight games when the Bulls travel to Houston on Thursday night.
"We're not giving up on the season. ... We're looking for playmakers," said Taggart, who left Western Kentucky after last season to take over USF's struggling program. "We're looking for answers. ... I'll see if Mike can give us some juice."
Dominique Brown rushed for a career-best 125 yards and scored on a 5-yard reception for Louisville. Bridgewater threw TD passes of 20 yards to Damian Copeland and 69 yards to Gerald Christian.
UCF rallied from a 28-7 deficit to beat the Cardinals — stopping an eight-game winning streak, dropping Louisville ten spots in the AP poll and out of first place in the AAC.