Chas Dodd

Rutgers giving Notre Dame plenty of fight but leaving some scratching heads as well

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Few gave Rutgers a puncher’s chance against the Fighting Irish in the Pinstripe Bowl, but the Scarlet Knights have more than held their own as Rutgers and Notre Dame reach halftime tied at 13-13.

The Irish and Scarlet Knights traded blows in the first quarter, first with field goals and then with touchdowns. Notre Dame’s touchdown came on a run by TJ Jones, who later had to leave the game due to a shoulder injury. His status is uncertain for the remainder of the game. The Rutgers touchdown came with Chas Dodd completing a pass to Brandon Coleman, his 20th career touchdown reception. That tied a Rutgers school record for most career touchdown receptions.

The first half had a handful of missed opportunities for both teams though. Notre Dame had their backs against the wall with Rutgers pushing for a touchdown, but Kyle Flood opted to kick a short field goal to tie the game at 13-13 rather than gamble on fourth down close to the end zone. Notre Dame was flagged for offsides on the field goal try, but Flood decided to keep the three points instead of risk it for a potential lead. Notre Dame moved down field on the ensuing drive but was unable to convert a field goal try.

Rutgers had another promising looking drive developing but a poorly executed halfback pass by Justin Goodwin was picked off by Notre Dame’s KeiVarae Russell just outside of the end zone. Rutgers had been moving the ball well and had been given a boost by an unsportsmanlike penalty against Irish defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt for 15 yards. Notre Dame was forced to punt but time ran out on Rutgers before being able to tack on any more points before halftime. Rutgers then took a knee despite having two timeouts remaining.


Sneak Peek: 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl

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WHO: 8-4 Notre Dame vs. 6-6 Rutgers (AAC)

WHAT: New Era Pinstripe Bowl (4th Year)

WHERE: Yankee Stadium in New York, New York

WHEN: Dec. 28 at 12:00 p.m.

WHY: A year ago Notre Dame was preparing for the BCS championship game against Alabama in Miami. This is quite a different bowl season for the Irish, as Notre Dame is looking to cap off an 8-4 season with a win over Rutgers in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The stakes, of course, are considerably lower this time around, but don’t expect head coach Brian Kelly to take it any less seriously. The Irish are also in a state of flux with assistant coaches leaving to take head coaching gigs elsewhere.

Rutgers has taken their lumps in their one and only season in the American this year. The Scarlet Knights clinched bowl eligibility in the final game of the season with a 31-6 victory over South Florida, which snapped a three-game losing streak that saw Rutgers score 17 points in each game and lose by double digits to put their postseason eligibility in doubt. Rutgers has struggled in turnover margin all season long as well, ranked 118th in the nation in turnover margin per game. Quarterback Gary Nova has been intercepted 14 times, but Chas Dodd will be the quarterback leading the offense in this one.

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees will be the big name to watch in this one, as you just never really know what you are going to get out of him. Rees has been up and down all season long and is capable of looking done before coming out of nowhere with a late scoring drive before halftime to turn the momentum at the right time. Notre Dame’s defense though should have little trouble slowing down this Rutgers offense. Look for the Irish to attack early and bring plenty of pressure on Dodd while Rees and the offense find some opportunities to tack on points.

PREDICTION: Notre Dame 37, Rutgers 20

Rutgers sticking with Gary Nova as starting QB

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Despite tossing seven interceptions in his last two games, Gary Nova will remain the starting quarterback for Rutgers.

The Star-Ledger’s Tom Luicci was first to report via Twitter that Rutgers will keep Nova in the starting job under center. Earlier in the day it was reported that Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood had not made a decision on who will lead the offense for the Scarlet Knights this weekend against Temple. Flood had said he wanted to review film on his quarterbacks to evaluate what the best situation will be for the team moving forward. Flood has also suggested the possibility of having multiple quarterbacks take snaps against the Owls could still be in play.

That other option is senior Chas Dodd, who has appeared in just three games this season for Rutgers and took over the offense last week in a 49-14 loss to Houston at home. Dodd completed 11 of 15 pas attempts for 78 yards and was intercepted once. Dodd saw extremely limited action last season and last played a role in the Rutgers offense in 2011, when he passed for 1,574 yards and 10 touchdowns while being picked off seven times.

Nova has completed 56.5 percent of his pass attempts for 1,511 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Rutgers will enter the weekend with a record of 4-3, needing two more wins to become bowl eligible. Rutger ranks sixth in The American in passing offense.

With picks aplenty, Rutgers reopens QB competition

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Over the past 14 games, Gary Nova has thrown 24 interceptions.  Just in the past two, he’s thrown seven.

Because of that case of interceptionitis, his status as Rutgers’ starting quarterback is in jeopardy.

Sunday, head coach Kyle Flood said Nova (pictured) and former starter Chas Dodd will both take reps with the first-team offense during practice this week.    Flood said a decision on who will start the Scarlet Knights’ game against Temple Saturday will “probably” be made Thursday.

In 2010 and 2011, Dodd made a combined 15 starts, although he hasn’t started a game since late in the latter season.  After sharing quarterbacking duties with Dodd in 2011 (five starts), Nova has started the last 20 games for the Scarlet Knights the past two seasons.

In 808 career pass attempts, Nova has thrown 36 interceptions versus 47 touchdowns.

Dodd replaced Nova in Saturday’s Homecoming loss to Houston after the starter was yanked, completing 11 of his 15 passes but also tossing a pick.  It was the third time this season Nova’s seen the playing field.

Gary Nova injured in Rutgers’ win; status for Arkansas uncertain

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Whether or not Rutgers has its starting quarterback for its matchup with a member of the SEC next weekend will likely remain a mystery for most if not all of the week leading up to it.

In the first quarter of the Scarlet Knights’ win over Eastern Michigan, Gary Nova was injured after being hit on a play that resulted in a roughing the quarterback penalty.  The quarterback did not return to the game after he was injured.

The exact nature of the injury was not disclosed.

Following the game, head coach Kyle Flood gave no indication as to the odds of his starter’s availability for this Saturday’s game against Arkansas in Piscataway.

I don’t know right now what his status will be in the upcoming week,” the coach said. “He could not return in the second half and he was not available to us really from the second quarter or midway through the first quarter – not sure exactly when I got notified.”

If Nova is unable to go against the Razorbacks, Chas Dodd would get the nod.  In relief of Nova, Dodd completed just four-of-nine passes for 45 yards.

In 2011, Dodd started eight games for the Knights.  After losing the starting job, he played in just three games in 2012.

Oddly enough, Rutgers’ opponent next week had its own injury issues at quarterback as well.

Starter Brandon Allen suffered an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder early on in UA’s win over Southern Miss and did not return to the game.  In the postgame, head coach Bret Bielema said that Allen, who was in a sling, was held out for the remainder of the contest as merely a precaution.

Bielema is optimistic Allen will be healthy enough to play in the game against the Knights.

UPDATED 12:48 p.m. ET: Head coach Kyle Flood confirmed that Gary Nova suffered a concussion in the win.  As was the case immediately after the game, Flood is unsure of the quarterback’s availability this weekend.

“I have not spoken to the doctors today. They’re going to see Gary when he comes in here in a little bit and reevaluate it,” Flood said. “These things can span a wide spectrum from a day or two and be back to playing again to missing weeks. I’m not sure exactly what part of the spectrum we’re on but should have a better idea probably by tomorrow.”