ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Leading up to the Russell Athletic Bowl, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater batted back questions about whether the game would be his last in college.
If it was, he left plenty for the Cardinals to remember.
Bridgewater threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score to help No. 18 Louisville rout Miami 36-9 on Saturday night.
The Cardinals (12-1) spotted Miami (9-4) an early 2-0 lead, then dominated the rest of the way, racking up 554 total yards to the Hurricanes' 174.
With Cardinals' fans chanting "Teddy! Teddy!" at times throughout the game, Bridgewater, projected to be a top NFL draft pick if he comes out this summer, set a school season record with 31 touchdown passes. The Miami native also tied the school record with his 27th victory as Louisville's starter.
"It meant a lot because not only because I and so many other guys going against our hometown school, but we were going against a quality opponent," he said. "That's what we've been waiting for all year...That's why you play the game, to compete. We competed in all three phases, offense, defense and kicking game."
He was 35 for 45 for career-high 447 yards.
Louisville won its second straight bowl game for its second 12-win season.
On the stage during the postgame trophy presentation Bridgewater, the game's MVP, was showered again by Louisville fans who beckoned him with "One more year!" overtures.
He reiterated though, that he hadn't set and decision-making timelines on deciding whether to submit his name for the NFL's early entry deadline.
"As of now it's not about me, it's about this team," Bridgewater said. "We want to celebrate tonight's victory and each of us, whether it's seniors or underclassmen — we all have decisions to make. But for tonight we wanted to focus on this game and get this game out of the way. Celebrate it and enjoy this moment."
Louisville coach Charlie Strong said throughout the week that he was banking on his defense to help spark the Cardinals' offense. It responded with one of its best efforts of the season.
Miami, playing in its first bowl game since 2010, hasn't had a bowl victory since 2006, losing four straight. The Hurricanes were returning to the postseason following a two-year, self-imposed ban during an NCAA investigation.