Monday Notebook: Nova Named Starter

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Rutgers football (4-1, 2-0) is full of news Monday, including quarterback Gary Nova being named the official starter and cornerback Logan Ryan earning Big East Defensive Player of the Week honors. ScarletReport.com has the latest from Piscataway.

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Ask anyone around the Rutgers football team a Gary Nova will be the first to say Gary Nova is ready to be the starting quarterback.

Nova is undefeated dating back to middle school and is 1-0 as the Scarlet Knights' starting quarterback. Instead of allowing the battle to go on through the week, head coach Greg Schiano officially named Nova the starter Monday in his weekly press conference.

"Gary is going to start," Schiano said. "That's after going through things, that's what we've decided to do. Again, [Chas Dodd] will be prepared and ready to go."

Nova threw for 174 yards on 11-of-24 passing and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh in his first career start. That came a week after taking over for Dodd against Syracuse in Rutgers' 10-point comeback.

"I know that I am ready [to be a starter]," Nova said. "But it can't affect the way I prepare. I've practiced the same way if I'm the starter or not, so I have to go hard this week to get ready for Navy."

Defensive Player of the Week

Logan Ryan's two interceptions and first career touchdown earned him Defensive Player of the Week honors from the Big East. Ryan is the second straight Scarlet Knight to take home the award after Steve Beauharnais did so last week against Syracuse.

Ryan's performance also earned him a "helmet sticker" from legendary head coach Lou Holtz during an ESPN broadcast.

"The helmet sticker thing, I think, has got to be cooler, but I didn't get to see it," Ryan said. "I had so many people text me about it. I'm happy that Lou Holtz recognized me. It's a cool feeling."

For the second straight week, Schiano said of Ryan that he thought the sophomore player his best game at cornerback.

"I think, in the beginning of the game, I came out a little slow," Ryan said. "But I picked up where I left off at Syracuse. Like I've said before, I've been practicing well, so it's starting to translate to the field. I'm happy about that."

Snap Problems

Caleb Ruch, who will start at center against Navy, said today that the two botched snaps were his fault against Pittsburgh.

"Both of those snaps were me," Ruch said. "One was a late call I was trying to make, and you're not supposed to do that, and I did it anyway."

Nova added that snap exchanges will be an emphasis in practice.

"We wish we had those plays back, but we'll just work on it in practice," he said.

Turnovers

Rutgers is tied with South Carolina for tops in the nation with 22 turnovers. The team's 12 interceptions are second best behind Vanderbilt and 10 fumble recoveries are first with South Carolina, Michigan and San Diego State.

The team's 2.8 turnover margin is the best in the NCAA.

"It just keeps amazing me how many (turnovers) we get every week," said senior safety David Rowe, who has both an interception and fumble recovery this season.

Quotables

Right guard Antwan Lowery on losing and regaining starting job: "I definitely needed that in my life. What happened really showed me that your job isn't safe and you have to go out and compete every day for your job. It allowed me to really see the other side and it allowed me to play good."

Wide receiver Mark Harrison on Gary Nova: "I think he does a lot of things well. At first, he kind of struggled with vocals, speaking up and yelling out the plays. But he's gotten so much better in his game and yelling out the plays and being real comfortable with it."

Running back Savon Huggins on team chemistry: "I just love being out there supporting my team or making a block or getting a first down, fighting for extra yards. I feel like we feed off each other. Mark or Mo [Sanu] or Gary makes a good pass or catch or we make a good run, we just feed off each other."


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