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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rutgers' Chas Dodd, Gary Nova face quarterback decision again as Temple nears

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

It took a season and a half, but Rutgers has mustered up a quarterback competition again between Gary Nova and backup Chas Dodd. Nova's three-interception performance Saturday against Houston was a driving force, but a culture of instability at the position is a culprit, as well.

"You know, this is a person who plays quarterback on your football team," head coach Kyle Flood said Monday. "It is probably the most important decision you make just because of the importance of the position itself."

Here's a timeline of how the Scarlet Knights got to this point:

  • Feb. 3, 2010: Dodd signs his National Letter of Intent with Rutgers. The 6-foot spread quarterback from Lyman, S.C., is viewed immediately as a top backup to incumbent Tom Savage, fresh off a freshman All-American season.
  • Sept. 25, 2010: Savage suffers a rib injury against North Carolina. Dodd replaces him the next week, and Savage throws 20 passes the rest of the season before transferring to Arizona.
  • Oct. 8, 2010: On national TV, Dodd leads a fourth-quarter comeback against Connecticut, throwing for 322 yards and two scores while completing 62.2 percent of his passes. It is his signature moment at Rutgers.
Dodd as a freshman against Connecticut in 2010, when he started seven games. (AP photo)

  • Dec. 7, 2010: Pittsburgh fires head coach Dave Wannstedt. Nova reneges his commitment to Pitt and follows assistants Frank Cignetti and Jeff Hafley to Rutgers.
  • Oct. 1, 2011: Then-head coach Greg Schiano benches Dodd for ineffectiveness at Syracuse. Nova engineers a late comeback, capped by a touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu, in his first extended appearance. “And you know what’s crazy?" Nova says afterward. "They didn’t even cover (Sanu) on that play."
  • Nov. 6, 2011: Schiano sits down Nova, who has started the next five games, in the second half against USF. Dodd helps force overtime, and Rutgers wins.
  • December 2011: Schiano uses bowl preparation to decide who will start at quarterback. Dodd and Nova both play, but Nova throws only seven passes against Iowa State.
Nova celebrates Rutgers' New Era Pinstripe Bowl victory Dec. 30, 2011, as a true freshman. (AP photo)

  • Aug. 20, 2012: New head coach Kyle Flood announces Nova will be his starting quarterback for the 2012 season after a summer-long competition with Dodd. He says he will stick with Nova.
  • Dec. 28: After starting each game, Nova's nightmarish final seven games ends with the low point of Rutgers' season against Virginia Tech. The Knights managed only 196 total yards, and Nova completes 17 of 40 passes. Flood says he will remain with Nova through the spring.
  • Sept. 14: Dodd appears in his first meaningful game in more than a season after Nova suffers a concussion on Rutgers' first drive against Eastern Michigan. Offensive coordinator Ron Prince largely relies on the team's run game.
  • Oct. 26: Dodd relieves Nova after another poor outing, this time a three-interception affair in a 49-14 Homecoming loss to Houston. Flood lists the two quarterbacks as co-starters two days later.

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