TAMPA, Fla. -- Louisville got three touchdown passes from freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to defeat South Florida 34-24 Friday and clinch a share of the Big East championship.
Louisville (7-5, 5-2), which rallied from a two-touchdown deficit in the first half, took the lead for good on Bridgewater's 10-yard pass to DeVante Parker with 9:38 remaining.
The Cardinals added to their lead on Dominique Brown's 9-yard touchdown run with 4:12 remaining.
Bridgewater finished 19 of 28 for 241 yards.
Louisville, which began the season 2-4 before winning five of its last six regular-season games, can capture the Big East's berth in a Bowl Championship Series game if Cincinnati loses once more and Friday night's winner between Pittsburgh and West Virginia loses next week.
South Florida (5-6, 1-5), which needs a victory in Thursday's regular-season finale against West Virginia to qualify for its seventh consecutive bowl appearance, played the entire game with sophomore quarterback Bobby Eveld, a former walk-on, because of a shoulder injury to starter B.J. Daniels. Eveld was 20 of 35 for 210 yards.
Louisville, which snapped a 16-game losing streak in regular-season games played in the state of Florida that dated to 1972, took a 20-17 lead with 2:40 remaining in the third quarter on Bridgewater's 18-yard pass to tight end Josh Chichester on third-and-11.
South Florida struck back quickly when Lindsey Lamar returned the ensuing kickoff 62 yards. On the first play from scrimmage, Eveld pitched to Demetris Murray, who stopped and flicked a left-handed 37-yard halfback-option pass to Deonte Welch, giving the Bulls a 24-20 advantage.
South Florida, largely capitalizing on Louisville mistakes, took a 17-10 lead into halftime.
The Bulls went ahead 7-3 on Eveld's 35-yard pass to Lamar on fourth-and-3. Initially, South Florida seemed prepared for a punt, then shifted its offensive players onto the field. Eveld found a wide-open Lamar, who drifted behind safety Hakeem Smith down the left sideline.
South Florida stalled on its next drive, but on fourth-and-17 from the Bulls' 37-yard line, Louisville's Mike Evans roughed punter Justin Brockhaus Kann, providing new life. Maikon Bonani completed the nine-play, 34-yard drive with a 40-yard field goal.
Louisville, looking for the equalizer, got a 19-yard pass from Bridgewater to running back Jarel McGriff-Culver to the South Florida 41, but strong safety Jon Lejiste rammed the ball loose after a jarring hit and recovered the fumble.
South Florida then mounted a 13-play, 59-yard drive, culminating in Murray's 1-yard run on third-and-goal to provide a 17-3 advantage with 35 seconds remaining in the half. On fourth-and-1 from the Louisville 35, wide receiver Victor Marc took a snap at quarterback and rushed for 4 yards.
Trying to prevent a last-second score, South Florida squibbed the kickoff, but Senorise Perry still rumbled for a 49-yard return before being pushed out of bounds at the Bulls' 25-yard line. Two plays later, Bridgewater found Parker for an 18-yard score in the back of the end zone, cutting South Florida's advantage to 17-10.
adidas Men's Louisville Cardinals Sideline Coaches Black PoloPrice: $38.93 Shop
Baylor has released five signees from its 17th-ranked recruiting class, including J.P. Urquidez, Kameron Martin and Donovan Duvernay. Sources said the others are Patrick Hudson and Parrish Cobb.
ESPN's Jared Shanker and Matt Fortuna join The Paul Finebaum Show to break down the Week One showdown between Ole Miss and Florida State.
Gary Shelton of the Saint Peters Blog joins The Paul Finebaum Show to discuss the renewed energy of Florida football programs.
ESPN's Chris Fallica joins The Paul Finebaum Show to preview the opening weekend of the college football season.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh says young players at his camps this summer have him convinced that football has a bright future.
GameDay 100: During the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2013, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel manages to stay on his feet, scrambling to buy time to complete the touchdown against Duke.