Senior Nova challenged for Rutgers quarterback job

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 9, 2014 at 11:17 am •  Published: April 9, 2014
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PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Eight months ago, Gary Nova was Rutgers' unquestioned quarterback and voted team captain.

Entering his senior year, he's fighting for the starting job.

After throwing 14 touchdowns and four interceptions and completing 59 percent of his passes in leading Rutgers to a 5-2 start, Nova's 23-game starting streak ended with a dismal second half of the season. He had five touchdowns and 10 interceptions, completing 51 percent of passes while Rutgers lost four of the next five games. He was benched in favor of senior Chas Dodd for the final three games.

It marked the second straight year Nova's season ended in a tailspin. In 2012, Rutgers got off to a 7-0 start and had the inside track on the program's first BCS bowl bid when Nova encountered difficulties.

Now Nova enters spring practice in a quarterback competition, despite the graduation of Dodd and no other quarterback with experience other than holding a clipboard on game day. Those vying for the spot are redshirt junior Mike Bimonte and redshirt freshman Chris Laviano.

"I'm still a captain of this team. I'm still a leader. My picture is still on the front of the Hale (Center)," said Nova of the photo in the football facility lobby. "I hold myself to a high standard and got to lead everybody, so nothing has changed from that aspect."

The spring snaps have been spread out among the three quarterbacks.

"As far as not taking all the reps with the ones, I can't let it affect me," Nova said. "I have to go out there and have the same energy and enthusiasm and lead these guys."

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