Rutgers Overcame A 25 Point 2nd Half Deficit To Win, For Tonight 'Redemption' Is Spelled 'Federico'
I...I just...I don't...I have nothing. I can't even fathom how I am supposed to fit an analysis of that game into one post. It's probably deserving of at least 3-4 blogs all featuring a vastly different attitude and tone. If you asked me to script my feelings after the first half they may have actually read like the thoughts of a rational, mild mannered human being. If I were to start writing during the third quarter you would have sworn I had my laptop out on the ledge of a 20 story building with me. If you asked me to start typing with mere minutes left in the 4th quarter it would have been a completely blank slate. Partly because I was in shock, but also because by the end of that game there were so many words for it that there were truly no words for it at all. I started the game wanting Head Coach Kyle Flood fired. By the end of the 3rd quarter I wanted him tarred, feathered, and burned at the stake. When the clock hit zeros, for a brief second, I wanted him canonized. Now, I still think he should be fired, for reasons I have already gotten into, but holy shit did Rutgers refusal to give up breathe life back into a program that was on life support.
Listen, as Rutgers fans, we don't have to lie to ourselves. As impressive as that comeback was, it was just as much a product of Indiana having a collective stroke as it was Rutgers playing flawless football. I mean, for fuck's sake Rutgers missed two extra points and failed on two two-point conversions. An Indiana botched punt and two incredibly ill advised throws were instrumental in helping Rutgers overcome it's own futility to reign victorious. With that said, Rutgers fans shouldn't feel any less ecstatic about this win.
This is a season that was marred by negative publicity and countless arrests before it even began. A season that has seen a head coach get suspended for basically editing papers that a 7th grader should be able to write. A season that saw Rutgers best player face the potential end of his college career for something he didn't even do. A season that has featured a fanbase wide quarterback controversy that the coaching staff apparently doesn't even know about. A season whose one highlight, a hard fought loss against Michigan State, ended in the most 'Rutgers' way possible with a 4th down spike. Let's just say that the sun hasn't exactly been shining on the Rutgers faithful. In fact, the last few months have been a pretty trying time to justify supporting this team. So while Indiana contributed as much to their collapse as Rutgers did to their own triumph, I refuse to make any apologies for how that game turned out. Not now, not never. We needed this one.
The stats are unbelievable. I was trying to find the shortest way possible of telling my brother what happened during the game. "Rutgers was up 27-24 at half, down 52-27 towards the end of the 3rd, and won 55-52 on a last second field goal". Uhh, what? I could just see the confusion on his face receiving that text. That's how little sense that one sentence breakdown makes. A 28-0 run, answered by another 28-0 run, ALL IN ONE HALF OF FOOTBALL. It's only made more nonsensical by the fact that the latter was completed largely without the help of the freakishly good Leonte Carroo. Before his injury he proved why he's a Rutgers great. Robert Martin proved why he needs more carries. Chris Laviano proved that he can, at times, actually be a capable college quarterback. Paul James proved that he has exceptional hearing, because as soon as I started bitching about him getting carries he busted off a game tying touchdown run. The defense proved that even in a game when they look less than incompetent they can still make plays when it matters most. The coaching staff proved, at the very least, that it won't let this team quit on itself. Most importantly, Kyle Federico proved that the only thing a couple of missed extra points does is set the backdrop for the most unlikeliest of redemption narratives.
Rutgers wins! Rutgers wins! I honestly don't know how the FUCK it happened, but Rutgers wins!
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