A field goal with 33 seconds left in the third quarter, down 41-14. It's a blowout loss, and you go for a field goal to make the score 41-17. That's the coaching staff we're dealing with here. They are a mediocre FBS staff at best and are in way over their heads in the worst BCS conference in the nation. That's the type of pathetic decision-making that has doomed this program, causing Rutgers to effectively limp into the new, more powerful B1G. Can you imagine if Kyle Federico missed the kick? If I was the AD I would have fired Flood right then and there.
The sad thing is the players have given up. They'll never say it, and they may not even believe it, but you can just see the look on their faces, the way they carry themselves onto the field. Aside from a standout performance by Darius Hamilton (2.5 sacks and great disruption tonight), the entire team looks like a bunch of zombies out there. That all starts at the top. The purpose of a head coach is to motivate your players to play every week, and Kyle Flood has continuously failed at that this season. Temple and Memphis are stocked with far less talent than Rutgers, but are doing exponentially more with the personnel on the respective rosters. The Owls and the Tigers were able to at least get within one scoring possession of UCF, while Rutgers never had a chance the moment they walked onto the field at Bright House Networks Stadium.
The wheels have long fallen off, sometime around the Louisville game, and it's been a disastrous trip through the 2013 season ever since. Beginning with an absolutely horrendous defense, an even worse quarterback, and every high-profile recruit save for a couple of players de-committing, this has been a tumultuous year for the Scarlet Knights, and it doesn't look to get much better. With games against bottom-feeders USF and UConn coming up, there is a legitimate chance that either team, or both, could pull the upset. Is it even an upset at this point? UConn may not have any wins as of yet, but it's hard to tell the difference between the Huskies and the Scarlet Knights. Both teams have worse-than-mediocre QBs under center with previously stout defenses giving up tons of points.
Gary Nova is becoming a tradition unlike any other. His stat line for the night: 11 of 34 passing, 107 yards, no touchdowns, one interception. I look at that line, and I think to myself, wow only one interception! That is a sad, sad thought. The fact that I am surprised Nova didn't throw more interceptions is a clear indicator of the quality of his play, and makes it even more mind-boggling that he is still allowed to throw the football for the Scarlet Knights. What more does Kyle Flood need to see? In three seasons, Gary Nova has completion percentages of 51.1% in 2011, 57% in 2012, and 54.5% through 10 games in 2013. I'm no statistician, but if I had to guess, Nova ain't getting better any time soon. Julie Hermann can't schedule Arkansas and Temple every year, and if she could, that's only two games out of the entire season.
It's a travesty that Chas Dodd didn't come in sooner. In his senior season, he has watched Nova throw picks and miss receivers, yet hasn't been given the chance to show what he can do. Now I'm not saying he can do any better or that he is more talented than Nova, but at some point you have to pull your guy. That speaks to the stubborn nature of Coach Flood (as does his policy of committed players not being able to visit other programs). The Flood era has shown us the ugly outcome of the anti-Schiano strategy of staying with one QB, rather than having the carousel. Both philosophies have tormented RU fans for well over a decade, and now all of the momentum gained from the mid-2000 years seems to have completely faded.
It's always the same old story with Rutgers. So much promise, never to be realized. Flood had promise, but now we see that it wasn't meant to be. It's time to move on. One day, the right man will lead this program to the pinnacle, and you can only find that person if you let go of the current coach. There is no better time with the B1G calling in 2014. A new start is needed, sooner rather than later.
What do you think? Can the season get any worse? Leave a thought in the comments below.