By Matt Sugam
PISCATAWAY – Kyle Flood insists his team is over the loss to Louisville and the fact that they squandered their chance to go the the BCS. The first year head coach said they were able to do that on Sunday during the bowl announcement.
Still, getting over such a crushing loss is easier said than done.
“It’s something you just got to accept at the end of the day,” senior wide receiver Tim Wright said after Rutgers’ first bowl practice. “The first couple days you kind of grieve over it. You think about this, you think about that, but at the end of the day it’s in the books. You can’t go back and change it. So it’s something you just got to get over mentally.”
Which becomes easier for the Scarlet Knights now. They’ve begun bowl practice, and soon enough they’ll be focusing on their opponent, Virginia Tech.
“It’s been tough, but at this point you kind of have to let it go,” defensive tackle Scott Vallone said. “Obviously it stung as a senior, you want to go out going to a BCS game, but we still have a lot on the table.”
And they do.
While it’s not the Sugar Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl is still the most prestigious bowl game Rutgers has ever been to. With a win in that bowl, they can become just the third team in Rutgers’ 143 year history to win 10 games in a season.
Despite that, losing out on going to a BCS game for the first time in school history when the ability to do so was in their control is not something that they can just erase from their minds.
“It’ll be a memory. The memory will never go away,” Flood said. “But in terms of getting over it, like I said I think that Sunday we’re over it. There’s nothing more we can do to affect that game. That game is a part of history.”
A part of history this senior class will never get. While they may be able to put it out of their minds for the next three weeks of the bowl season, it’s a missed opportunity that will stick with them for the years to come.
“I’ll probably be 40 and it’s something you’re going to look back on and you realize it was right there – all chips on the table, opportunity to play in the Sugar Bowl. That would have been great,” Vallone said. “But it just kind of is what what it is at this point and you’ll be able to tell you’re kids stories.”