Rutgers Gives Third-string Qb Starting Job Coach Terry Shea Is Asking Mike Stephans To Pep Up The Offense.

Posted: September 10, 1996

Rutgers coach Terry Shea said yesterday that senior Mike Stephans will start at quarterback when the Scarlet Knights play Miami on Thursday night at Rutgers Stadium.

Stephans entered the season as the team's third-stringer.

Sophomore Corey Valentine has been the starter in both of Rutgers' games this season - a 38-28 victory over Villanova and a 10-6 loss to Navy. Ralph Sacca, a junior from Delran High in South Jersey, who was second on the depth chart, played in both games. Stephans played in the fourth quarter of each game.

``We got through camp with two quarterbacks in the hunt, and as camp wore on and arms got tired, Mike's continued to impress,'' said Shea, whose team failed to move the ball consistently against Villanova or Navy.

``Mike has a strong arm and is just what the team needs to have. He's probably the most gifted of our three passers, but he's had no chance.''

Valentine, a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, has completed 9 of 25 passes for 129 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. Sacca, 6-4 and 220 pounds, is 15 for 24 for 185 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

The 6-1, 215-pound Stephans is 5 for 14 for 58 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He is the only one of the Knights' quarterbacks to have scored a TD. He reached the end zone on a 1-yard run against Villanova.

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