The Rutgers Scarlet Knights were in a position to make a run at an outright Big East title in 2012 and take the conference’s automatic bid into the BCS. A late-season collapse, however, cost the Knights and many pointed the blame towards quarterback Gary Nova and not without just cause. Nova took that criticism, though, and turned in one of the better springs in college football and set himself up to be the biggest bounce-back player in college football next season.
Of course, you can’t bounce back unless you’ve taken a fall, and Nova fell hard at the end of 2012. After leading Rutgers to a 7-0 start while throwing 15 touchdowns to just three interceptions, Nova came apart at the seams. Sparked by a six-interception performance against the Kent State Golden Flashes, Nova threw at least one interception in each of his final seven games, finishing the year with 22 touchdowns and 16 interceptions while completing less than 50 percent of his passes in the final three losses to close out Rutgers’ season.
During the offseason, however, Nova put in the work to make sure that didn’t happen again. He dropped 15 pounds while away from the team and put together a very strong showing in spring practice, quickly picking up the offense of new offensive coordinator Ron Prince. Kyle Flood and the rest of the coaching staff have given Nova nothing but support as the starting quarterback, who has been a more confident and efficient leader so far in 2013.
For Rutgers to take another run at the conference title, Nova has to be the man to lead them there. That means a complete season of good decision making and efficient playmaking from start to finish. Does he have that turnaround in him for 2013?