Chas Dodd finds it was worth the wait as Rutgers readies for Pinstripe Bowl

Rutgers quarterback Chas Dodd during Connecticut's victory over Rutgers quarterback Chas Dodd during Connecticut's victory over Rutgers. (Nov. 30, 2013)

advertisement | advertise on newsday

In the business of college football, as in any other business, a change in management has a trickle-down effect. The end of the Greg Schiano era at Rutgers effectively spelled the end of Chas Dodd's role as starting quarterback because new coach Kyle Flood was the man who recruited Gary Nova.

Another person in Dodd's position might have taken the cue to transfer in search of playing time, but after playing 20 games and starting 15 as a freshman and sophomore, Dodd chose to ride it out as Nova's backup.

He threw only one pass as a junior and took a few snaps in the Wildcat formation early in his senior year. But as Rutgers (6-6) struggled through a difficult season, Flood finally reinstated Dodd as the starter for the final two regular-season games and for its meeting with Notre Dame (8-4) in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at noon Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

"It's been tough, but one of the biggest things for me has been being able to stick in there and wait for my opportunity,'' Dodd said. "I'm just excited about where we can finish the season up.''

Although Schiano left to coach Tampa Bay in the NFL, Dodd remained loyal to the Scarlet Knights and supported Nova. Describing the relationship he enjoyed with Schiano, Dodd said: "It was strong. He recruited me, and I was very comfortable with him and had a great relationship with him. My family did, too, and we continue to talk to him and he talks to my stepdad a lot.''

The change to Flood isn't the only one that affected Dodd. In four years, he's worked with four different offensive coordinators.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"It's all new terminology every year,'' Dodd said. "It can be tough. You get one offense down, and right when you're feeling good with it, you've got to learn another one.''

The Knights got off to a 4-1 start this season but lost four of the next five, averaging 16.2 points in that stretch. That's when Flood called on Dodd, who started a 28-17 loss to Connecticut but then led a 31-6 win over South Florida that made the Knights bowl-eligible.

"It was extremely exciting to meet with Coach and have my number called again,'' Dodd said. "It was exciting even for my family members and anyone involved in my life and my story. I just tried to prepare and be ready for the opportunity. I'm happy I stayed here and kept fighting and that it did come.''

You also may be interested in: