Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
No. 15 Rutgers, who look to start 8-0 for just the fourth time in program history, faceoff against out-of-conference opponent in the 2012 homecoming game "on the banks."
It was the tale of two halves this past Saturday, as the No. 15 Rutgers football team rallied in the third and fourth quarter to pull off a 35-10 victory over Big East rival Temple.
It was emotional, it was dramatic and, most importantly of all, it happened last week.
With homecoming and some more history on the line in this week's matchup against Kent State, Rutgers is ready to put last week's victory in the books as they look to improve to 8-0 for just the fourth time in program history this weekend.
"We've moved on," Rutgers coach Kyle Flood said in his weekly press conference. "It's later in the year, we're moving out of conference for the week and playing a really, really fine Kent State team."
As the Scarlet Knights prepare to face off against the Golden Flashes (4-0, 6-1), in the team's third overall meeting, the key to the entire matchup may actually rely quite heavily on the arm and resilience of quarterback Gary Nova.
The reigning Big East Offensive Player of the Week, Nova finished last week's Temple victory with four second half touchdown passes and went 17-of-27 passing with 232 total yards.
"I think this week was a good one because I don't know that he had the type of first half that necessarily he wanted to," Flood said. "I think it's just one more experience that in the future he'll be able to draw from."
Nova, who had to battle for his starting spot over this year's pre-season practice schedule, is now an impressive 123-for-201 in total passing attempts, with just over 1500 yards and 15 touchdowns.
On the flip side, Kent State quarterback Spencer Keith and David Fisher have combined for just seven touchdowns and 1262 yards over the past seven weeks.
The Scarlet Knights know it won't be a simple walk in the park this Saturday afternoon though and going up against a Kent State team that averages 24.7 points allowed every game, Rutgers knows a second-half rally won't necessarily cut it.
"I think when players put the film on, I think they'll see right away that we're playing a quality opponent," Flood said. "We will get their best shot, and we need to make sure they get ours."
Although Kent State hails from the MAC, a division not always associated with national competitors, the Scarlet Knights refuse to take anything for granted, sighting Cincinnati's 29-23 loss to Toledo last week.
"I think they watch TV and they watch the highlight shows at night to see what's going on around the country and in our own league," Flood said. "But I don't think it'll be a surprise to any of our players."
With a handful of practices left to come this week, the Scarlet Knights still have a few days to perfect their game plan against the Golden Flashes, but for the third straight week they might have to do it without freshman kicker Kyle Federico.
"He says, Coach, I feel a little bit better than I did last week," said Flood. " So I think we're closer. Does that mean this week? I don't know that."