Dodd-led Rutgers to play Army at Yankee Stadium

A year ago, in their last meeting with Army, Scarlet Knights

defensive lineman Eric LeGrand was paralyzed making a tackle on the

Black Knights’ Malcolm Brown on a kickoff return at the

Meadowlands. When the teams meet Saturday at Yankee Stadium,

LeGrand is scheduled to take part in the coin toss, and he will

work as an analyst in the third quarter of the telecast.

”We’ve kind of created this rivalry in the past few years with

Rutgers, so it kind of adds to that relationship we’ve built, so it

makes for an exciting game every time we play them,” Army senior

quarterback Max Jenkins said of not only facing off in Yankee

Stadium, but in seeing LeGrand’s progress. ”We went down there

over the summer and it was really great to talk and hang out with

Eric and a couple other Rutgers players and further that bond and

relationship.”

A week after becoming bowl eligible, Rutgers now will try to

settle on a starting quarterback.

Rutgers (6-3) qualified for a postseason bowl for the sixth time

in the last seven years when sophomore Chas Dodd came off the bench

in the fourth quarter and rallied the Scarlet Knights to a 20-17

overtime victory over South Florida last weekend.

Dodd, who started the first four games before being replaced by

freshman Gary Nova, will be back as the starter Saturday against

Army (3-6), which is coming off a tough 24-14 loss at Air

Force.

”It’s big. I’m just excited to get back out there with all

these guys and be the starter,” said Dodd, who threw for 251 yards

in the overtime win over Army last season. ”It’s been a couple

weeks since I’ve gotten to start. I was excited about it, and I

still am. I’m just ready for this week of preparation and

practice.”

Dodd spent his time on the bench approaching games the same way

he would had he been starting.

”I feel like that’s why I was prepared to get in this past

weekend, and that’s how I’m going to take it every week because you

never know what’s going to happen,” he said.

Rutgers coach Greg Schiano did not indicate whether he would

play Nova a few series. When Dodd started earlier this year, Nova

played. When Nova started, Dodd didn’t.

”Me and Chas have a great relationship and I’m going to support

him just as he supported me when I was starting. We’re just going

to focus on this game,” Nova said.

While it has won only three games, one of Army’s wins was

against Big 10 member Northwestern. The Black Knights lead the

nation in rushing, averaging 365.8 yards, but they are last in

passing offense, averaging 47 yards.

Army coach Rich Ellerson said blowing a 14-0 halftime lead and

losing to the Falcons was excruciating.

”There are lessons,” Ellerson said. ”Some of the minutiae,

some of the technical styles of play do not carry over to this

week. But, that’s not what’s breaking our heart. What’s got us

staring at the wall all night are missed opportunities, turnovers

and penalties, and those do carry over. That is the poised,

present, disciplined football that we need to make a reality. We

need to be able to do it with the game on the line.”

Army’s running game is based on the triple option, an offense

the Scarlet Knights have seen year after year playing both the

Black Knights and Navy, which Rutgers beat earlier this season.

”Getting ready for the triple option is a challenge in

itself,” said Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene, who leads the Big

East Conference in tackles with 92. ”But having the Navy game

gives us a little confidence that we’ve seen what it’s like. Even

though it’s not Army, we’ve seen what it’s like to defend the

triple option. Now it’s about fine-tuning some things and getting

ready for Army this Saturday.”

Army fullback Jared Hassin ran for 118 yards and a touchdown on

16 carries against Rutgers last season.

”He is a great athlete, a big kid,” Rutgers defensive tackle

Scott Vallone said. ”I think he’s about 235. He’s just a great

player. He fits into their system well. I think he could play at a

lot of other schools. He’s a tough guy to tackle, so we’re going to

have to bring our hard hats when we go to tackle him.”

Ellerson said this will be a special game, not only playing

Rutgers but seeing LeGrand and having the game in Yankee

Stadium.

”We have all that,” Ellerson said. ”And then you’re going

into Yankee Stadium, which is a special place to play. That’s a

unique opportunity. So, there’s an awful lot for our guys to look

forward to and we need to make sure we cross that line of

departure. We’re looking forward to this. We’re excited to

play.”

Rutgers intends to wear a white helmet with a red, white and

blue R to honor the members of the military, a day after Veterans

Day. The Scarlet Knights normally have red helmets with a white

R.