Passing (242.3ypg – 53rd in the nation)
After three losses in a row, including a 52-17 rout by Cincinnati, Rutgers’ head coach Kyle Flood pulled starting quarterback Gary Nova for senior Chas Dodd. In his first game, Central Florida’s defense turned Dodd into a non-factor, but he rebounded well with solid performances against Connecticut and South Florida (a 31-6 Rutgers victory).
Over the course of the season (which includes other fill in roles prior to taking over the starting job), Dodd has completed 60% of passes and accumulated 712 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he has thrown 3 interceptions. The biggest downside for Dodd is his size. At a slender 6ft 200lbs, Flood frequently is forced to role Dodd out of the pocket so he can see downfield.
On the receiving front Rutgers has a solid depth chart, but the Irish defense must direct their attention to two names. TE Tyler Kroft, a 6’6” 240lb junior, leads the team with in receptions (40) and receiving yards (530). Kroft is most deadly on play action passes because his speed burns linebackers and his size overwhelms safeties. If Rutgers can establish their running game and effectively use the play action pass, Kroft will cause problems. Rutgers’ second biggest threat is Quron Pratt, the speedy fifth year senior. Pratt already has an 84 yard touchdown reception and he enters the game averaging 15.9 yards per reception. If Notre Dame’s defensive backs are looking into Rutgers backfield, Pratt will burn them.