Saturday, October 27, 2012
Rutgers implodes in loss to Kent State
By Matt Fortuna
Everyone is counting on you now, Louisville.
The Big East is down to one unbeaten team after Rutgers imploded in a 35-23 home loss Saturday to Kent State.
Yes, Kent State.
Yes, from the Mid-American Conference.
The same MAC that has now beaten the Big East four times this season, including two wins that ruined perfect seasons.
One week after watching Cincinnati fall at Toledo, the Scarlet Knights turned the ball over seven -- yes, seven -- times in a game that was not as close as the final score indicated.
Gary Nova, the conference's reigning offensive player of the week, had a nightmarish performance, throwing six interceptions -- including four in the first half -- that put his team in an early 21-3 hole. Mark Fackler picked off two of those first-half throws, returning one 25 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Nova finished with 313 yards and two touchdowns on 25-of-46 passing, and coach Kyle Flood will surely get questions about not switching to Chas Dodd.
Jawan Jamison carried the Rutgers' offense with team bests of 15 rushes, 84 rushing yards, eight catches and 88 receiving yards.
The Golden Flashes got 131 yards on 22 carries from Trayion Durham, and Dri Archer added 136 all-purpose yards and a rushing touchdown on what was a rather quiet day for the do-it-all phenom.
Like Toledo, Kent State is a very good team, one that improved to 7-1 on the season. And, well, Rutgers' conference title hopes were not ruined with a MAC loss. But the Scarlet Knights did the conference absolutely no favors, as the Big East will now likely be left with just one ranked team come Sunday night's unveiling of the BCS standings.
A seven-turnover performance like this one is simply inexcusable, and Rutgers now gets an extra week to think about what it just did before facing Army in two weeks.