Scarlet Knights Torched By UCF in Primetime

The Rutgers slump continued Thursday night in primetime with a 41-17 loss to No. 17 UCF. The Scarlet Knights fell behind early against the high-powered UCF offense, and received little help from the struggling Gary Nova.

Rutgers disappointed in primetime with a 41-17 loss to No. 17 UCF. The defensive struggles of the Cincinnati blowout carried over against quarterback Blake Bortles, who dominated the inexperienced Rutgers defense.

"It was a disappointing game for us," coach Kyle Flood said to reporters after the loss. "Coach [George] O'Leary and his staff and his players, they have an excellent football team this year. I think they did an excellent job preparing for us and there's no surprise why they are having the season they're having."

Rutgers (5-5, 2-4) had no answer to Bortles and a dominant quarterback performance. Bortles was the latest quarterback to put up a major performance against the Rutgers defense. The junior finished with 336 passing yards and a touchdown, spending the end of the game on the bench to rest.

UCF scored touchdowns on its first four possessions, and controlled the pace of the game with a strong, balanced offense and pressure from its defensive line.

"Their quarterback is an exceptional player and an excellent decision maker," Flood said. "He's a very accurate passer and we had opportunities to get him on the ground in the first half and we couldn't do it."

The Scarlet Knights kept it interesting because of two impact special teams plays.

The first – a 38-yard fake punt run by Michael Burton – set up a Paul James touchdown run. The second came in the form of an Anthony Cioffi blocked punt, recovered in the end zone by freshman Andre Patton for his first career touchdown.

Head coach Kyle Flood stuck with quarterback Gary Nova through perhaps his biggest struggles of the 2013 season. Nova threw an interception early, and struggled with accuracy and decision making. Nova stayed in through the start of the fourth quarter, finishing with 107 yards on 11-of-34 passing.

Nova completed just three passes to his wide receivers, with the rest going to tight end Tyler Kroft. Kroft finished with a career-high eight catches for 72 yards.

Backup Chas Dodd did not enter the game until the final three minutes.

Rutgers gets three extra days off with the Thursday night loss. The Scarlet Knights get a chance to bounce back against winless Connecticut Nov. 30 at Rentschler Field.

"I'm not concerned because I watch how the team plays until the end of the game," Flood said on potential discouragement. "Even through that last kickoff, you see guys playing with tremendous effort and I don't see a team that is discouraged."

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