Rutgers facing instability at QB

Gary Nova is competing with Chas Dodd for Rutgers' starting job on Saturday.    MEL EVANS / AP
Gary Nova is competing with Chas Dodd for Rutgers' starting job on Saturday.    MEL EVANS / AP
Posted: November 01, 2013

As far as quarterback controversies go, it's probably best to have them early, settle things, and move on.

This, however, is the opposite of what is going on at Rutgers, which will host Temple on Saturday.

After a three-interception performance, junior starter Gary Nova was benched in favor of senior Chas Dodd in a 49-14 home loss to Houston. So second-year coach Kyle Flood announced an open competition between the two at the beginning of the week.

On Sunday, Flood said he would make a decision by Thursday on which player would quarterback the Scarlet Knights (4-3, 1-2 American Athletic Conference) against the visiting Owls (1-7, 0-4).

On Wednesday, though, Flood introduced another possible alternative.

"I could envision at this point both quarterbacks in the game," Flood said. "But we'll make that decision tomorrow."

Neither quarterback played well against the Cougars, who defeated Temple, 22-13, earlier in the season. Nova went 7 of 15 for 138 yards with the three interceptions, bringing his total to seven over the last two games, both losses. Dodd, who started as a freshman and a sophomore but was beaten out by Nova at the start of the 2012 season, went 11 of 15 for 78 yards with an interception.

Both quarterbacks have split the reps with the first team this week. This, however, is not where Flood had hoped to be this late in the season.

"I don't think it's ideal," Flood said. "In a perfect world, you have your starter and he takes 75 percent of the reps. This is the situation we're in right now, and we have to move forward doing everything that's in the best interest of winning the next game, which is with Temple."

That Nova is struggling the way he is now belies what has been a good career. Nova ranks third in school history in touchdown passes (47), and he is sixth all-time in passing yards (5,759). In the season opener, a 52-51 overtime loss at Fresno State, Nova passed for a season-high 348 yards and five touchdowns.

Temple coach Matt Rhule said that Nova and Dodd are very much alike. As a result, Rhule said that the Owls don't have to prepare for a quarterback as much as they have to prepare for the scheme Rutgers plays.

"They are both the same quarterback," Rhule said. "They throw the deep ball and they manage the game. If you show blitz, they'll check the play. They are both really smart, steady quarterbacks, but they are not different in style."

 


jmitchell@philly.com

@JmitchInquirer

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