Out of Magic

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Rutgers had chances for another comeback win, bowl eligibility and first place in the Big East, but missed too many opportunities against Louisville, falling 16-14.

Louisville, Ky. — Gary Nova's luck finally ran out. The bad plays caught up to the true freshman and overshadowed the good plays. The Scarlet Knights trailed by two scores in the second half yet again, but the comeback batteries were out of juice this time.

For a second, it looked like Rutgers had another comeback in the bag, but Mark Harrison dropped a game-winner and delivered the crushing blow potential Big East road win.

Trailing by two, Harrison got behind the entire defensive secondary and Nova hit him in stride, but the junior simply juggled the ball and let it hit the turf.

"I feel like this is my fault and I take the team on my back," Harrison said.

From there, Nova made his biggest mistake to date.

With a chance to drive into field goal range for a win, Nova put the ball in the hands of a defender for his third interception of the night and ended a chance at a third comeback win.

"I haven't lost in a while," Nova said. "I don't like this feeling and I don't plan on feeling like this again."

Nova finished the game with three interceptions to one touchdown pass and multiple poorly thrown touchdown passes.

Nova missed receivers Brandon Coleman and Miles Shuler open on fly routes and made another poor decision on an illegal forward pass.

"We won three close games, people felt good about [starting Nova]," said head coach Greg Schiano in response to sticking with Nova through his struggles. "That's sports. We didn't catch the ball, so now those questions are valid, I assume."

Nova's mistakes were most visible, and costly down the stretch but errors across the board led to the loss.

On a night where Louisville hit its longest field goal since 1989, San San Te missed two easy ones. Either could have been a game winner.

"Each kick is its own kick," Te said on missing his last four attempts. "I don't really connect them all together as a string of kicks. Every kick is just as important and that's how I approach it."

Defensively, missed tackles cost Rutgers multiple first downs.

After containing Navy's rushing game last week, Rutgers gave up 187 rushing yards to the Cards.

"We came out today and, it wasn't us," said senior defensive tackle Justin Francis. "We have to be more focused on what we have to do."

Rutgers (5-2, 2-1) hosts West Virginia, which lost tonight against Syracuse. The Big East remains wide open and the Scarlet Knights have three of their last for conference games at High Point Solutions Stadium.

"We felt like we had a lot of momentum and we had to capitalize, but we just didn't," said Mohamed Sanu, who had 128 yards on 10 catches and a touchdown. "...We just have to flush it. It happened and there's nothing you can do about it. We just have to come and prepare for West Virginia."

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