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August 18, 2012

Saturday scrimmage recap

Rutgers' second scrimmage of the summer is in the books as the team simulated a preseason game under the lights inside High Point Solutions Stadium. There were some high points on both sides of the football and here's a look at the latest from Piscataway.

It was a day of big plays for the offense as there were four touchdown passes of 60 yards or more. Nova tossed a pair of those touchdowns, a 60-yarder to Mark Harrison and a 75-yarder to Miles Shuler.

Shuler didn't stop there, later adding a 36-yard touchdown reception and finished with 176 yards on seven catches. He also had a 14-yard reception negated because of a penalty.

"After a couple of catches, it started escalating and [I was] just being consistent," Shuler said. "That's the main thing, consistency. Coach made the play calls and I was just out there making plays, that's all."

Mike Bimonte also got into the act, launching a perfect 75-yard strike to Leonte Carroo. Chas Dodd had a long touchdown pass as well, hooking up with Jeremy Deering for a 62-yarder.

"The offense made big plays which is good" Flood said. "It's hard to score a lot of points if you don't make those kind of plays; the chunk plays, the explosive type plays."

Both starting quarterback candidates made their case as to why they should each run the offense.

Dodd started off with a bit of a hot hand, completing his first 10 of 14 passes for 100 yards and a score. After that, things started to tail off a bit as he went on to complete two of his next eight passes for 13 yards. But he bounced back and threw five straight completions against the first-team defense on a drive that ended with a 36-yard touchdown pass.

Dodd finished the night going 23-of-39 for 286 yards and four touchdowns.

"We've always had that [big play] potential, we just haven't used and executed it," Dodd said. "It's a thing that we've been working on and we've got to keep getting better at but I think tonight we just saw a few glimpses of what we can do."

Gary Nova did not throw as many passes and ended up completing 7-of-13 tosses for 177 yards and two touchdowns.

"I had some pretty explosive plays--one with Mark [Harrison] where he was wide open," Nova said. "I just did what the coach told me to do and executed the plays. I'm glad it worked out that way."

The night kind of capped off both quarterbacks' résumés and Flood said he is confident that he can name a starter sometime this week.

Another positive that came out of the game for the offense is that there was not a single turnover.

"[I'm] extremely pleased," Flood said. "The first rule of football is the ball is the program, so if we protect the football we are always going to have a chance to win."

As successful as the Rutgers offense was through the air, there was not a whole lot of room to run as the rushing attack had a rough go of things against a stout Rutgers defense. Jawan Jamison gained only 33 yards on 12 carries while Savon Huggins rushed 10 times for 14 yards.

"We did better than last week against the run and we've probably done better since the whole camp started," said senior defensive tackle Scott Vallone. "You have to be able to stop the run because if anybody can run the ball then that's going to jumpstart their offense."

With two of Rutgers' first three games taking place at night, scrimmaging under the lights served as a warm-up to the season opener against Tulane and an all-important showdown with South Florida a couple of weeks later.

"It felt great, it felt like a game," said senior linebacker Khaseem Greene. "We were out there flying around on both sides of the ball having fun. It was more or less a game for us and we all had fun. That's part of playing the game."


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