Bridgewater amassed 279 yards on 23-of-28 efficiency. Jeremy Wright picked up 114 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries for Louisville (3-0).
Senorice Perry added 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground and Charles Gaines made five grabs for 78 yards and a score en route to a 36-14 fourth-quarter lead.
But North Carolina (1-2) came charging back down the stretch under quarterback Bryn Renner, who fired three touchdown passes in the final quarter.
Cardinals cornerback Andrew Johnson broke up his potential go-ahead TD toss to Erik Highsmith on fourth-and-goal from the 4-yard line with 1:49 remaining, sealing Louisville's win.
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]