Jeff Driskel’s first pass of the Sugar Bowl was intercepted and returned 38 yards for a touchdown.

It never got much better for heavily favored Florida in what was supposed to be the crowning game in a bounceback season.

The fourth-ranked Gators, a two-touchdown favorite over No. 22 Louisville, fell behind by 14 points midway through the first quarter and trailed by double digits the rest of the way, losing 33-23 on Wednesday night.

“We got outcoached and outplayed,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “That’s what I told the team. That’s the bottom line.”

Florida looked more like the team that dropped 11 games combined in 2010 and ‘11 than the one that lost only once in 2012. The Gators (11-2) were no match for the inspired Cardinals (11-2) and former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, who left to become Louisville head coach in 2010.

Florida was beaten in almost every way possible. After never trailing by more than 10 points in their first 12 games, the Gators trailed Louisville by more than that for all but the first eight minutes and the last 2:13

The Gators could not slow down Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who threw for 266 yards and two TDs against the nation’s No. 1 pass efficiency defense. In the first half alone, Louisville converted five of six third downs.

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