Flood Re-Opens Quarterback Competitoon

Chas Dodd

Gary Nova and Chas Dodd will yet again battle things out during the week to decide who will start for Rutgers against Temple after a disastrous Homecoming loss. Dodd replaced Nova after the third interception of the day, and finished the game by completing 11 of 15 passes.

Gary Nova had the longest stretch as an established Rutgers starting quarterback since Mike Teel, but it came to an end after three more interceptions in an ugly 49-14 Homecoming loss to Houston.

Rutgers and coach Kyle Flood are in a search for answers across the board after the embarrassing showing Saturday, and Chas Dodd could be a part of the formula. Both quarterbacks will see time with the first-team offense in a competition.

"We'll make a decision on who's going to start the game a little bit later in the week, probably on Thursday," Flood said. "… They'll both take reps."

Dodd, a senior with an 8-8 career record as a starter, replaced Nova against Houston with a solid enough showing to re-open the quarterback position battle. Flood said the position needed evaluation after the loss Saturday, and reiterated that belief Sunday evening on his next-day conference call.

"I'm looking for decision-making on a high level and accuracy in passing," Flood said. "I think if we do those things, then we're going to protect the ball and give ourselves a great chance to be 1-0."

Dodd replaced Nova against Houston after the game spiraled out of control. Houston went to a prevent defense, shutting down the big play, and allowed Dodd to complete 73 percent of his throws.

The final drive of the game ended one yard short of a touchdown for Dodd, who also threw an interception on a pass bobbled by receiver Brandon Coleman. Flood said he did not consider playing Blake Rankin, Mike Bimonte or Chris Laviano in the final minutes against Houston.

"I really wanted to see Chas operate, and I wanted to see him operate the offense," Flood said. "I wanted to see him operate at a little bit of a faster tempo. I was pleased with what I saw in both cases. If I wasn't, then I think maybe my mind would have wandered in that direction."

Nova has seven interceptions to one touchdown in his last two games, both losses. The unquestioned starter dating back to training camp of his sophomore season, he finds himself in a position where he must win the spot before Rutgers (4-3, 1-2) takes on Temple (1-7, 0-4) at High point Solutions Stadium.

"I think, as coaches, we want the players to progress matter what," Flood said. "I think that's always going to be the case. We're always trying to push the players to be better and better. I don't know if this is the right time to give a career assessment on it, no different after an Arkansas game or anything like that. … Right now the most important thing for us is to be 1-0 against Temple. The process this week will be to find out which quarterback gives us the best chance to be 1-0 against Temple."

Rutgers is 16-9 in games started by Nova, who has 5,759 passing yards, 47 touchdowns and 36 interceptions in his college career. Dodd has 3,334 yards, 21 touchdown and 15 interceptions in 25 career games.

Other Postgame Notes

Running back Paul James (lower leg) is unlikely to be available for Temple.

Safety Lorenzo Waters (high ankle sprain) will not practice Sunday night, and Flood will address his status Monday morning on the injury report.

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