NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Terell Floyd's 38-yard interception return for a score touched off a night of big plays Wednesday that led to Louisville's 33-23 Sugar Bowl win over Florida.
Floyd's touchdown came on the first play of the game and the Cardinals shocked the Gators throughout the contest with two dazzling touchdown throws by Teddy Bridgewater and physical play on defense.
Florida needed a scoring run in the final 10 seconds of the first half just to cut its deficit to 14 points and then tried to take Louisville by surprise with an onside kick to start the third quarter.
That backfired, however, when the Cardinals not only recovered the kick but benefited from a 15-yard penalty against the Gators.
That set up Bridgewater's second touchdown throw that gave Louisville a 30-10 lead and the Cardinals held on to complete their season at 11-2. Florida wound up with the same record, its only other loss having come at Georgia in October.
Bridgewater completed 20-of-32 passes for 266 yards, but it was the Louisville defense that continually made things difficult for the Gators.
One of Florida's touchdowns came on a 100-yard kickoff return by Andre Debose in the third quarter immediately after a Louisville field goal had given the Cardinals a 23-point lead.
The Gators then regained the ball and were marching toward another potential score that could have created an exciting finish, but Louisville's Andrew Johnson intercepted a pass from Jeff Driskel in the end zone to end that threat and all but clinch the victory.
Driskel was 16-of-29 for 175 yards and a late touchdown along with the two critical interceptions.
Florida was penalized 18 times for 194 yards and had three turnovers overall.
Louisville's win gives the Big East Conference a 4-1 bowl record this season with Pittsburgh still having a game to play against Mississippi. The only loss by the Big East has been an overtime setback for Rutgers against Virginia Tech.
The Southeastern Conference is 3-3 in bowl games.