Temple's Golden sets quarterback competition

Mike Gerardi, who led the Owls in their victory over Bowling Green, will compete against Chester Stewart.
Mike Gerardi, who led the Owls in their victory over Bowling Green, will compete against Chester Stewart.
Posted: October 20, 2010

Temple football coach Al Golden said Tuesday that quarterbacks Chester Stewart and Mike Gerardi will compete in practice this week to decide who starts for the Owls on Saturday at Buffalo.

"We'll make a decision by the end of the week," Golden said. "I don't know if they both are going to play or not, but I'll let it sort itself out this week."

Stewart, who has started all seven outings as Temple built a 5-2 record that includes a 2-1 mark in the Mid-American Conference, was replaced by Gerardi in the first quarter of the Owls' 28-27 victory over visiting Bowling Green on Saturday.

With Temple trailing, 6-0, the 6-foot-2, 206-pound Gerardi immediately connected with wide receiver Rod Streater for an 80-yard touchdown pass. And when the Owls got the ball back, Gerardi and tight end Evan Rodriguez teamed up for a 46-yard score that gave Temple a 14-6 lead.

Though Stewart had thrown an interception the series before Gerardi was inserted, Golden said that he had planned to give the backup a chance on Temple's third possession. On the Owls' first possession, they punted.

Gerardi's first collegiate touchdown pass was to a wide-open Streater in the area of the right sideline, right in front of the Temple bench. The second came on play-action; Gerardi took a hit while delivering the ball to Rodriguez as the receiver cut across the middle toward the left sideline.

"I really wasn't nervous, but I had butterflies before the game," Gerardi said after Temple survived a last-second two-point conversion attempt by Bowling Green. "But I knew what I had to do when I got out there. It's hard being the second quarterback. But you just have to go out there and execute when you get in. You never know what's going to happen."

Stewart said he was surprised that he did not get back into the game against Bowling Green.

"I'm kind of frustrated," said Stewart. "But I always believe in myself, and I'm a man and not a boy. I'm not going to cry about it. I'm going to work my best and do what I can do to control what I can control."

Gerardi, a redshirt junior like the 6-3, 214-pound Stewart, went to Temple in '08 as a walk-on from Parsippany, N.J.

He excelled in high school at Parsippany Hills, where he threw for 2,300 yards and 35 touchdowns as a senior.

And in prep school at Kimball Union Academy (N.H.), Gerardi led the team to a perfect season by completing 90 of 119 passes for 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns, with no interceptions.

Golden said Gerardi had to prove himself academically before being put on scholarship last season.

"The biggest difference is that Gerardi had the maturity level to go into the game," Golden said. "I was concerned about that in games two, three, four and five. He has talent, and he finally has the maturity and leadership to match it. That's why he got the opportunity. He has the knowledge of the offense to go in there and operate."

Contact staff writer Kevin Tatum at 215-854-2583 or ktatum@phillynews.com.

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