Jones met only minimal resistance as he crashed into the end zone to cap an 11-play, 74-yard drive that included four straight completions and four straight runs by Driskel.
The Gators tried to keep the momentum with a surprise onside kick to open the third quarter, but not only did Louisville recover, Florida's Chris Johnson was called for a personal foul and ejected for jabbing at Louisville's Zed Evans. That gave Louisville the ball on the Florida 19, from where Bridgewater needed one play to find Copeland for his score.
"We game-planned it and felt good about it," Muschamp said of the onside kick attempt. "We wanted to steal a possession at the start of the second half."
On the following kickoff, Evans cut down kick returner Loucheiz Purifoy with a vicious low, high-speed hit that shook Purifoy up. Soon after, Driskel was sacked hard from behind and stripped by Pryor.
"Just coming up to this point, we had the right attitude, had the right mindset that we would go out and beat this team," Pryor said.
Louisville's Lorenzo Mauldin recovered on the Florida 4, but the Gators' defense drove the Cardinals backward and forced a missed field goal, but that was one of few morale victories for the frustrated Gators.
After Louisville native Muhammad Ali was on the field for the coin toss, the Cardinals quickly stung the Gators. Floyd, one of nearly three dozen Louisville players from the state of Florida, made the play.
Driskel was looking for seldom-targeted Debose, who'd had only two catches all season.
"I threw it behind him, (he) tried to make a play on it, tipped it right to the guy," Driskel said. "Unfortunate to start the game like that."
It made for an easy catch and score for Floyd only 15 seconds into the game.
"That play kind of set the tone," Floyd said. "It kind of gave us momentum and we kept it."
Oddly, Louisville had only 10 defenders on the field until only moments before the snap, when safety Jermaine Reve darted out from the sideline and immediately found a Florida receiver to cover.
When Louisville's offense got the ball later in the quarter, the Florida defense, ranked among the best in the nation this season, sought to intimidate the Cardinals with one heavy hit after another.
One blow by Jon Bostic knocked Bridgewater's helmet off moments after he'd floated an incomplete pass down the right sideline. Bostic was called for a personal foul, however, which seemed to get the Cardinals opening drive rolling. Later, Wright lost his helmet during a 3-yard gain and took another heavy hit before he went down.
Louisville kept coming, though.
B.J. Butler turned a short catch into a 23-yard gain down to the Florida 1. Then Wright punched it in to give the Cardinals an early two-TD lead over a team that finished third in the BCS standings, one spot too low to play for a national title in Miami.
Louisville won the Big East berth to this game. They beat Rutgers in late November to virtually lock up the conference title, sealing that win on a late interception by Floyd.
- Morning links: Examining Utah's bowl...
- BYU reaches 9-win plateau, hoping for bowl...
- BYU basketball: Collinsworth sets NCAA career...
- Utah Jazz excited for a crack at undefeated...
- Utah's first family of rodeo: Riding buckin'...
- College Football: Utah moves back into top...
- Dick Harmon: After tossing 4 TDs, BYU's...
- BYU basketball analysis: How the Cougars...
- Utes outlast Colorado to cap best... 103
- College Football: Utah moves back into... 66
- Morning links: Examining Utah's bowl... 48
- BYU's big plays, big second half, spell... 46
- Dick Harmon: After tossing 4 TDs, BYU's... 36
- BYU basketball: Collinsworth sets NCAA... 36
- Brad Rock: Utes need bowl win to avoid... 35
- BYU holds on for tougher-than-expected... 34