Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.


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Teddy for Heisman sounded good, until I watched

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: May 9, 2014 - 6:02 AM

As a loyal Heisman voter, I try to get an actual look at the half-dozen or so players that by mid-season have turned into serious candidates for the award. You used to be able to find a couple of those players by monitoring Big Ten games on Saturday, but that’s not often the case these days.

It’s easy to find the Heisman contenders from the SEC, since those games are front and center, but you have to sort through 10 cable outlets to find some other teams.

I entered last season looking at the Heisman as a two-man race:

Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, the 2012 winner, and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. As much as I loved Manziel as a competitor and a character, I was hoping Bridgewater would wind up on the top of my ballot.

Teddy was coming from a non-power conference – formerly the Big East, now the American Athletic Conference – and I liked the idea that a player not from a historically glamorous program had a chance to win the Heisman.

There were a couple of other reasons to favor Bridgewater:

One, I greatly enjoyed watching Teddy and the Cardinals embarrass Florida 33-23 (after leading 33-10) in the Sugar Bowl during the 2012-13 bowl season.
Two, if Bridgewater had a Heisman-worthy season, that meant more accolades for coach Charlie Strong, and it was always fun for a Star Tribune columnist to remind the Gophers that they hired Tim Brewster as head coach over Strong in January 2007.

There was an opportunity to reaffirm this very favorable opinion of Bridgewater last Oct. 10, a Thursday night with the Cardinals at home on a national telecast vs. Rutgers. I caught a glimpse of the first half, then sat down to watch Teddy light up Rutgers’ porous defense in the second half.

It didn’t happen.

The final was 21-10 for Louisville. Bridgewater’s raw numbers were fine – 21 for 31, 310 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a lofty college passing rating of 166.6 – but there was nothing dynamic about Teddy in a second half that was too close for comfort.

I was also a bit stunned over Teddy’s lack of athletic ability. It had not sunk into me previously, not in the Sugar Bowl for sure, that Bridgewater was … well, slow.

Teddy fell from the top of my Heisman ballot that night. Eight days later, the Cardinals were at home with Central Florida. Again, Bridgewater’s numbers were outstanding, but Central Florida was a 38-29 winner and I came away preferring Blake Bortles as a quarterback.

Small sample size? Certainly.

What else is there for a civilian to go by with a Louisville quarterback, when you’re stuck here on the western edge of the fifth best football conference in the country, the mighty Big Ten?

It’s super-duper that Rick Spielman and the Vikings jumped forward eight places to the last pick in Thursday’s first round to take Bridgewater as their developmental quarterback.

It’s also super-duper if Vikings fans choose to believe the rhetoric about how fabulous Bridgewater looked in a private workout once he put a glove back on his throwing hand, and the tremendous potential our offensive sage, Norv Turner, sees in Teddy.

Yeah, it’s super-duper, but once Bortles and then Manziel were out of the picture, the Vikings could have taken Derek Carr, Zach Mettenberger or even Tom Savage, and the Purple Faithful could have been convinced to get lathered up with as much optimism as they are this morning for Teddy.

Bridgewater’s completion numbers and total yardage in three years at Louisville were outstanding. He’s also much slower, not as sturdy physically, has smaller meat hooks and played inferior college competition to that of the Vikings’ previous first-round quarterback, a lad named Christian Ponder out of Florida State in 2011.

For now, Teddy is a suspect as a “franchise quarterback,’’ as was Ponder.

(Note: I voted for Manziel for the Heisman again. Teddy did not make my three-player ballot).

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Tennessee 10 2nd Qtr 3:38
Jacksonville 0
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 45 3rd Qtr
Chicago 52
New Orleans 41 2nd Qtr 3:53
Houston 37
Milwaukee 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Oklahoma City 9:30 PM
Golden State
Florida 1 3rd Prd 2:21
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 3rd Prd 1:15
Pittsburgh 0
Toronto 1 3rd Prd 4:02
Carolina 3
Washington 3 3rd Prd 4:52
Columbus 3
Anaheim 1 2nd Prd 6:07
Montreal 0
St. Louis 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Edmonton 9:30 PM
San Jose
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 65 1st OT 1:05
South Dakota St 70
Oakland City 43 2nd Half 8:15
Austin Peay 50
Eureka 31 2nd Half 8:50
Bradley 60
Appalachian St 51 2nd Half 10:25
Charlotte 52
Connecticut 32 2nd Half 13:54
Duke 40
Southern Miss 24 2nd Half 14:29
Jackson State 45
Coastal Carolina 53 2nd Half 9:27
Ole Miss 52
Montana State 26 2nd Half
South Dakota 27
LSU 20 1st Half 7:51
UAB 26
Ohio 18 1st Half 9:51
Evansville 20
CS-Dominguez 9:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Walla Walla 9:00 PM
Idaho
DePaul 9:00 PM
Oregon State
Nevada 9:00 PM
Pacific
Portland State 9:00 PM
San Francisco
CS-Bakersfield 9:05 PM
Utah State
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 19 2nd Half
Tulane 26
New Orleans 35 2nd Half 12:17
Tulsa 53
Incarnate Word 32 2nd Half 12:43
TX-Pan American 38
Ark-Little Rock 19 2nd Half 11:21
South Dakota St 51
CS-Northridge 37 2nd Half
Northern Ariz 43
Santa Clara 15 1st Half 9:33
Oregon 19
(19) Oklahoma St 9 1st Half 11:09
Weber State 10
Washington 12 1st Half 10:06
San Diego State 12
Cal Poly 24 1st Half 8:41
New Mexico 21
(10) Louisville 16 1st Half 11:25
Grand Canyon 11
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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