"He knows that this football team relies a lot on him," said Louisville coach Charlie Strong, whose squad will entertain Temple (3-4, 2-2) on Saturday at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. "The leadership comes from him. He's taken that upon his shoulders. And he's doing an outstanding job."
Bridgewater will tell you that his maturation, poise, and leadership qualities all come from Murphy.
She was found to have breast cancer in 2007, when he was a 14-year-old freshman at Miami Northwestern High School. But in his mother, he saw a fighter.
There were times when her treatment left her unable to get out of bed. She experienced hair loss, fatigue, and body ache. But she refused to let the disease get to her.
Murphy went to work every day and didn't miss any of her son's games.
"I was just able to take in everything that she went through," said Bridgewater, whose mother was declared cancer-free in 2008. "And just learn from her personality."
It's her personality and determination that inspire him.
At the time of her ordeal, Bridgewater, the youngest of four siblings, was the last child in the house.
"So I just had to mature early, and try to become the man of the house," said the quarterback, who washed cars and mowed lawns to bring in extra money. "It just motivated me."
Five years later, Bridgewater realizes solving defenses is much easier than what Murphy went through.
Bridgewater is a semifinalist for the Davey O'Brien Award, given annually to the nation's top college quarterback. He's also the leading candidate for Big East offensive player of the year.
Bridgewater is completing 70.7 percent (162 of 229) of his passes while throwing for 2,110 yards, 13 touchdowns, and just four interceptions.
He's on pace to join Brian Brohm, Chris Redman, Stefan LeFors, and Dave Ragone as the only Cardinals quarterbacks to throw for 3,000 yards in a season. Brohm (4,024 yards in 2007) was the last to accomplish that feat.
Bridgewater has 27 career touchdown passes and needs only one more to move into 10th place on Louisville's all-time list.
One of his most memorable performances came in last Saturday's 34-31 overtime victory against Cincinnati.
He threw for a career-high 416 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to wideout DeVante Parker. Those scoring strikes of 30 and 64 yards came after the Cardinals trailed, 24-14, in the fourth quarter.
"He's able to make plays down the field," Temple coach Steve Addazio said. "I think he's got great touch on his passes.
"He's also very athletic. So he can beat you with his feet. But you know, the guy is a very accurate thrower."
Bridgewater's best attributes, however, are his poise and maturity. He thanks his mother for providing that.
"She's been there through thick and thin," Bridgewater said. "She's just that special person. She motivates me. She's my best friend. We talk every day.
"We just have that relationship that a mother and son should have."
Aloha to Game?
Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw said it was too soon to confirm a Honolulu Star-Advertiser report that a possible football game with Hawaii was off the table.
"It's not over yet," Bradshaw said Wednesday of the Owls' attempt to schedule a game against the Rainbow Warriors at Aloha Stadium on Dec. 8. "It would be premature for me to comment on a newspaper report at this time."
According to the newspaper, there is not enough time or interest in Honolulu for the game to go forward.
After rejoining the Big East in March, Temple was left with only 11 games on this season's schedule. The Owls have been attempting to schedule a 12th opponent, to make it easier to get the six wins needed to become bowl-eligible for the fourth straight season.
- Keith Pompey
Contact staff Keith Pompey at email@example.com, and on Twitter @pompeysgridlock