College football is weird. How weird? Louisville beat Rutgers, perhaps their closest competition in the conference, by two touchdowns Thursday night to keep them undefeated, and not doing so more convincingly may have knocked them out of the national title hunt, because the sport thirsts for blood.
The Cardinals took an early lead on a John Wallace field goal, and scored two touchdowns in the second quarter to make it 17-0. Teddy Bridgewater found Kai De La Cruz for a 34-yard score, and Senorise Perry ran for a one-yard touchdown.
Rutgers bounced back, as Gary Nova threw a touchdown pass right before the half, and it was one of just a relative few positive plays for Nova on the day, who threw four crippling interceptions. Kyle Federico kicked a field goal to make it 17-10, but Bridgewater found Eli Rogers for a six-yard score and the win.
Mark Ennis of Card Chronicle said that while the close win may have eliminated Louisville's national title hopes, fans should not be dismayed.
The obvious reaction will be to be disappointed with another squandered opportunity to make a national statement, but the national title discussion was probably always a pipe dream. After tonight it's off the table entirely. Perhaps now the team will simply relax and enjoy the chance the run the table and go to another BCS bowl game in its final season in the AAC. Are there issues with the team right now? Perhaps in the red zone, sure. Overly determined to run the ball when it was clear Rutgers couldn't handle the middle of the field against Louisville's receivers.
Kevin Recio from On the Banks said Nova's performance was a not-too-surprising wake up call for the team.
Forget about any hope of Gary Nova being the guy to lead Rutgers to the BCS. Obviously the loss greatly hurts any chance of receiving the bid, but even with a win, you have to wonder how Nova has masqueraded as a winner the past month and a half. I gave Nova credit for making great strides this year, engineering fourth quarter comebacks and overtime drives. In Louisville, it all fell apart.