Commentary: "Flush It" Applies to Everyone

LOUISVILLE -- The cliff-jumping has begun for many Rutgers fans after a 16-14 loss Friday night to Louisville. With almost half a season to play and everything still on the line, there are plenty of reasons to keep this loss in perspective.

Louisville — Fifth-year senior San San Te, in the wake of one of his worst individual performances in a crushing loss, said something in the locker room that should apply to everyone in the Rutgers community.

Coaches, student-athletes and fans alike should heed Te's advice.

"You can't lose faith in what you do," Te said.

Yes, that message goes out to the fans as well. Do not lose faith. The loss is a crushing one because of what could have been, but Rutgers still controls its destiny.

The Scarlet Knights (5-2, 2-1) already have more overall wins and Big East wins than last season. The toughest games on the rest of the schedule are at home. Not to mention Rutgers has the best defense in the Big East and defense wins championships.

The defense, which had maybe its worst performance of the year, still only gave up 16 points.

"A lot of things happened tonight that we're supposed to do," said head coach Greg Schiano. "We made mistakes in a lot of areas. Good tacklers miss tackles. Good kickers miss kicks. Good quarterbacks miss throws. Good receivers miss catches. Good coaches make bad calls. A lot of things we didn't do very well."

Let's take a look at the mishaps that have fans jumping off the bandwagon like it is on fire.

Mark Harrison's drop highlighted the game of miscues at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. He dropped a sure 85-yard touchdown to win the game.

The play, in itself, is inexcusable, especially from a junior with more than 60 career catches under itself. But does anyone remember what Kenny Britt did against Cincinnati in 2008?

For those that do not, Britt dropped an easy pass that on the final drive that lost the game, instead of moving the team near field goal range with a chance to tie the game. Britt finished with a strong season and responded two weeks later with three touchdowns and 143 yards against Pittsburgh.

Don't write off Harrison yet. Everyone makes mistakes, what Harrison needs to do is embrace the "flush it" mentality and make plays against West Virginia.

All three of Gary Nova's interceptions were his fault. Bad reads and overthrows made for an ugly game.

Again, look at the 2008 season. Mike Teel, a quarterback with four more years of experience than Nova, lost two games on final-drive interceptions. Teel "flushed" those two drives — and the boo birds at home the next week — to lead Rutgers to eight straight wins and the two best single-game performances by a Rutgers quarterback.

Nova and Harrison are not Teel and Britt, at least not yet. The point is that Rutgers responded well to similar games in 2008. The Scarlet Knights kept the faith in 2008 at 1-5. They are 5-2 this season still control their own destiny to a BCS berth.

To say Chas Dodd could have won the game, or to second-guess every play-call or personnel decision of the coaching staff is every fan's right. But to say Nova is not tough, or has no heart is downright incorrect. Winning for the last four years of his life did not make him entitled, it made him that much more crushed to be on the losing column and know part of it was his fault.

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

How does that make Nova egotistical or conceited? Tim Tebow's reaction to a 2008 loss to Ole Miss comes to mind with that comment.

The Bottom Line

Everyone needs to flush this performance because there is no way West Virginia comes to Piscataway Saturday feeling sorry for itself. Rutgers has more wins now than all of last season and the most feared defense in the Big East.

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