Hurricane Sandy has altered the course of action for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights this week. Despite not being able to review film at the normal time, Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood walked away from Saturday’s loss to Kent State believing his quarterback — despite a tough game from Gary Nova.
Rutgers’ homecoming game was a nightmare loss to a seemingly inferior Kent State squad. The result — a 35-23 drubbing — ended the perfect season that Flood’s team had amassed thus far. In addition, it exposed quarterback Gary Nova for what he still is: a limited quarterback with growing pains.
Nova’s performance — six interceptions — was a bad as you’ll see a quarterback play in a BCS conference at any point this season. Despite the bad game, Flood won’t be caught overreacting.
“There’s no doubt (Nova will rebound),” Flood said. “Gary is a proven winner. I think he’s been that way since high school, and (he is) certainly proving to be that this season.
“And I think in that game, as hard as that game was for us offensively, (there were) so many opportunities to, at some point, to just say ‘enough.’ To the very end, Gary was fighting to win that game and I think it’s a testament to his courage and his willpower.
“I don’t have any doubt that Gary will be better for this experience, even though it was painful to go through. It’s going to be a learning experience for him and a valuable one going forward.”
If Nova rebounds, Flood’s confidence in him will be cited. If he continues to struggle — eight turnovers in his past two starts — some will wonder why Flood didn’t consider a change to protect his elite defense.
Despite the loss to Kent State, Rutgers still has a great chance to secure their first Big East title and a BCS berth. For them to get there, the quarterback position will have to be better than it was last Saturday.