Update 6:48 p.m. ET: Rutgers couldn’t turn it around, but could still turn it over, in the second half. As a result, the Scarlet Knights’ quest for an undefeated season is no more. Kent State went on to win 35-23. Gary Nova finished the game with six interceptions.
Yeah, hard to win doing that.
Rutgers can still win the Big East, obviously, but they’ll likely need to win out and/or get some help from Louisville in the form of a total collapse. Like Cincinnati, a nonconference loss probably hurts Rutgers too much in the event of a three-way tie atop the Big East standings because BCS standings are then used as part of the tiebreaker.
Last week, previously-ranked Cincinnati lost a close game on the road to a good Toledo team. This week, another Big East program is perhaps on the verge of falling to a MAC opponent.
No. 18 Rutgers currently trails Kent State 21-10 at the half. If not for a 19-yard touchdown pass from Gary Nova to Tim Wright with just seconds remaining in the second quarter, the margin would be larger. Nova’s been the difference in this game so far — and not in a good way. He has four interceptions to the one aforementioned touchdown.
Of course, an 11-point deficit isn’t insurmountable (unless you’re Iowa) and Kent State isn’t playing phenomenal, either. Point being is that the Scarlet Knights are still very much in this game despite the turnovers.
Louisville showed last night that they’re the team to beat in the Big East, but things can get interesting if Cincinnati wins out and Rutgers beats the Cardinals at the end of the year. That’s all a month away, of course, but the Scarlet Knights need to take care of its out-of-conference business for the Big East race to be exciting at year’s end.
Right now, they have a lot of work to do just to accomplish that.