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November 22, 2013

Flood still searching for answers





Rutgers experienced its latest blowout loss last night in a 41-17 drubbing at the hands of UCF. The Scarlet Knights are now 5-5 and in need of one more win to become bowl eligible. A day after the team's latest loss, head coach Kyle Flood was still trying to come up with answers.

"We had some opportunities [last night] and we didn't capitalize on them," Flood said late this afternoon via conference call. "That's not any way shape or form to take credit away from UCF. They've got a really fine football team and an excellent quarterback."

Opposing quarterbacks have routinely looked like Heisman Trophy candidates when facing Rutgers this season and last night UCF's Blake Bortles was no exception. He completed 21-of-30 passes for 335 yards.

Meanwhile, Rutgers starting quarterback Gary Nova was not so excellent. He struggled again going 11-of-34 for 107 yards with one interception.

When asked to explain why Nova has regressed and gotten progressively worse this season, Flood responded with the following answer.

"I will keep my comments just to the game from the other night. Gary wasn't accurate enough. Part of that is Gary and part of that is the people around him. Your question is about Gary and I know Gary feels like he can play better. All we can do is go out this week and work to get better."

Those comments are just as head-scratching as the decision to leave Nova in the game until late in the fourth quarter when senior Chas Dodd finally got the chance to run the offense.

Yet, in spite of how bad Nova has been all season, Flood has still not ruled him out as the starter for next week's game against winless UConn.

"We are still evaluating. I am not going to close the door on anything," Flood said of his starting quarterback situation. "We are not going to practice tomorrow. We are going to practice on Monday instead and we're going to make a decision before we go out there on Monday."

It remains to be seen if Flood will continue to stick with Nova, but he's done so through the last two seasons and it hasn't worked in Rutgers' favor. Nova has put together a 2-9 record against FBS teams with winning records and just has not been able to step up to the big stage.

"You always have to go with the guy that gives you the best chance to win," Flood said.

Last night, Nova did very little to help Rutgers to victory as quite a few of his throws were way off the mark.

Still, there is hope for a post season bowl game for the Scarlet Knights. All Rutgers has to do to become bowl eligible is defeat a winless UConn team next weekend or a 2-7 USF squad on Dec 7 inside High Point Solutions Stadium.

The way this team has performed over the past few weeks, neither of those games are walks in the park.

Rutgers has averaged just 16.2 points in its last five games and has been blown out in its last three losses. The Scarlet Knights' average margin of defeat in those three losses is 31.3 points.

Through all of that, Flood doesn't feel like his team is discouraged.

"I think our team is frustrated and I think that's a good thing because I don't feel like the frustration will lead to discouragement."


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