Sunday Call: Historic Night Revisited

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers got a night to enjoy its 26-24 victory over Michigan, and it is back to business Monday for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood discussed the latest coming out of Saturday on his day-after teleconference.

Rutgers has three goals heading into a much-needed bye week, and it starts with resting up from a physical first half of 2014.

The Scarlet Knights (5-1, 1-1) made sure to enjoy their victory Saturday night, but now it is time to hit the books, said coach Kyle Flood Sunday afternoon.

“We’ve got to get healthier,” Flood said. “We’ve got to get better. I think every position on the team has got to pick one thing and see if we can get better at it by the end of the week. We really have got to hunker down and do a great job academically. This is a very academic-intense part of the semester for the student athlete.”

Health remains a concern in the defense secondary where cornerback Anthony Cioffi did not play after starting against Tulane and walk-on Andre Hunt is the latest injury casualty.

Hunt suffered an apparent leg injury in the first half against Michigan and spent the rest of the game in street clothes on the sideline. The return of Johnathan Aiken in the second half saved Rutgers from desperate measures.

“We needed him,” Flood said. “If we didn’t get him back for the second half, we would have had to shuffle some personnel and put some people back there that really haven’t had a lot of reps playing those positions. It was critical to allow us to bring [Aiken] in for the second half to get a healthy body back there.”

Ohio State is next up for Rutgers after dominating Maryland Saturday afternoon. The Buckeyes host the Scarlet Knights in their first Big Ten road game with familiar faces that include Eli Apple (Eastern High) and Darius Slade (Montclair).

“I know from the little that I’ve seen, they’re one of the more talented teams in the country,” Flood said. “That’s for sure. They’re a physical football team. I know they’ve got one of the better defensive lines in the country. When you’re good up front on defense, you’re usually pretty good.”

Ohio State (4-1, 1-0) is also off this week before hosting the Scarlet Knights on Homecoming.

Nova Accepts Challenge

Flood said he expected Michigan to place the pressure on Gary Nova’s shoulders and a career high in passing yards is a clear answer to said challenge.

“I think Michigan made a decision that they were going to make Gary beat them and Gary did,” Flood said. “Ultimately when you throw for 404 yards and three touchdowns, that was the game that they wanted to play and we kind of expected it.”

Holding it Down

Flood made sure to mention holder Mike Bimonte when discussing Kyle Federico in the field goal game. Bimonte handled two more poor snaps Saturday that led to a field goal and extra point.

“We’re fortunate to have a guy like Mike Bimonte,” Flood said. “That’s not the first time that he’s had to deal with a snap that’s been a little bit off. I think, overall, Mike’s done a great job of getting that ball and getting it down and giving us a chance.”

On the Road Again

The Rutgers coaching staff finally gets a chance to recruit on site this week with its first bye. For recruiting updates, check out the Legrand Stand.

“It already has started to give us that opportunity, and we’re going to try to take full advance this week,” Flood said. “We’re going to be in a lot of different places.”

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