RU aspires for BCS bowl appearance
Thanks to Central Florida, the Rutgers football team’s chances at a BCS bowl berth are still attainable.
UCF defeated previously undefeated Louisville last Friday, 38-35. Central Florida now controls its own destiny in the conference.
But if Rutgers (4-2, 1-1) defeats UCF, there is a chance all three programs could finish 7-1 in the league, forcing a tie breaker scenario.
“It’s always a good feeling, but you have to focus on the team in front of you,” said junior safety Lorenzo Waters. “I guess we’re back in the hunt, thanks to Central Florida. But we control our own fate and we don’t have to rely on the other team to put us back in the race.”
How realistic that is lies in how the Scarlet Knights take advantage of the backend of their schedule, and that begins tomorrow against Houston (5-1, 2-0).
The Cougars visit Piscataway for Rutgers’ Homecoming game, an event last season which resulted in a deflating 35-23 upset loss to Kent State, ending the Knights’ undefeated season.
Though a loss to Houston may not be as surprising, this year’s homecoming game has more meaning in terms of BCS bowl aspirations for both teams.
“Really impressive team coming into New Jersey,” said head coach Kyle Flood. “[Houston head coach] Tony Levine has done a tremendous job there in his second season after taking over the program. … They’ve got a very talented group of players and they do a good job of coaching them down there.”
Freshman quarterback John O’Korn leads Houston’s offense, having thrown 1,494 yards and 14 touchdowns since taking over the job during Houston’s first game.
The Cougars were one point away last week from remaining undefeated, dropping a close 47-46 contest Saturday against BYU.
Rutgers will attempt to hand Houston its second straight loss, but will do so with questions on both sides of the ball.
While the Knights secondary woes are well documented, their offensive line has been the biggest disappointment.
The unit allowed 22 sacks in six contests, including eight against Louisville.
But Flood witnessed an added effort along the offensive line during the Knights’ bye last week.
“I saw a unit that worked with the urgency of a group that knows they need to improve,” Flood said. “And I felt the same way about other positions on offense. I thought we had a productive bye week.”
Rutgers has had 15 days to work through those problems, with the Knights experiencing their second bye week of the season.
Whether the Knights are ready, their finished product will display itself tomorrow at High Point Solutions Stadium, as Rutgers begins its revitalized quest for a BCS bowl.
“It’s been a long time. Especially with Homecoming and the student section sold out, that’s exciting,” said junior linebacker Kevin Snyder.