LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - His first pass as a college quarterback was an interception. Teddy Bridgewater was picked off in the 2011 season opener against Murray State.
In week two, the highly touted recruit completed both of his passes, in a 24-17 home loss to Florida International.
With Will Stein starting, Bridgewater was getting more and more frustrated. "It was so far away from home. I didn't have my mom, I didn't have my family, and all I had was football, so it was tough," he said.
He approached Cards head coach Charlie Strong. "He wanted to move his position," Strong remembered. "He wanted to go play wide receiver, and I said, you're not going to wide receiver. I said, here's what you're going to do, you're going to, you came here as a quarterback, you're going to compete for the quarterback position. I said, you're not moving anywhere, so I said, you need to get focused and you need to get locked in, because that's the position that you're going to play."
Up next on the schedule was a trip to Lexington for a meeting with archrival Kentucky.
"Before the game he said, well if I can't move to wide receiver coach, I want to transfer," Strong recalled. "I said, well that's not happening"
What did happen was that Stein injured his shoulder early in the second quarter. Bridgewater came off the bench to complete 10 of his 18 passes including the first two of his 50 touchdown passes in a 24-17 UofL win.
"You just have to live for the moment, you have to live for moments like that," Bridgewater said. "Just watching Will go out and execute the offense, it just motivated me even more, and my number was called, and I just did what Will did, which was execute the offense and finish the game for him"
Stein actually was able to come off the bench to take the final knee in the Cards win.
For Strong, it was a performance that proved to him that he had a star on his hands. "Well I just didn't know, because he entered the game, you didn't know how he was going to play," Strong said. "That's his first game. You're sitting there like, okay, is he going to be able to manage the game? Is he going to be able to get us in the right checks? Can he handle the offense? The environment that night was just unbelievable, here you are , your big rival game, and for him to go in and play as well as he did, I think that everyone was shocked, even the coaches."
The rest is history. Now Bridgewater will lead #7 Louisville back into Commonwealth Stadium, this time under very different circumstances.
The Cards (2-0) and Cats (1-1) kickoff at 12 p.m. Saturday. WAVE 3 will have all your coverage online and on WAVE 3 News at 6 and 11.
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