Rutgers is making a switch at quarterback.
Coach Chris Ash announced Monday that Gio Rescigno is replacing Chris Laviano as the starting quarterback this weekend at Minnesota.
After the Scarlet Knights were shut out in their two previous games and in the first half against Illinois this past weekend, Rescigno took over the offense in the second half and completed 10 of 18 passes for 120 yards and one touchdown in a 24-7 loss to Illinois.
Ash said the coaching staff discussed its options over the weekend and gave the job to Rescigno so the redshirt sophomore can have an entire week to prepare.
Rutgers (2-5, 0-4 Big Ten) has played four quarterbacks this season, with Laviano getting the most work, including the team’s last 18 starts.
“We tried obviously a lot of different quarterbacks,” Ash said. “This is not to blame the quarterback position or to blame Chris. We have not produced on offense here in the last four weeks. When you’ve got four games, you’ve got 14 points, it’s not good enough. It’s not one individual.”
Until Saturday, Recigno had the least amount of work at quarterback, with TCU transfer Zach Allen playing the second half against Michigan and freshman Tylin Oden seeing spot action.
Recigno is a tough runner who managed to get Rutgers to the Illinois 25-yard line in the fourth quarter with the team down 17-7. However, he threw an interception on a tipped pass and it was returned for a game-clinching touchdown.
“Gio did a lot of good things in that game with limited reps throughout the course of the week,” Ash said. “Just feel like if he has the whole week to prepare and get ready to play, he’ll build on what he brought to the team in the second half of that game. Watched yesterday’s practice, he had a lot of energy. Other players around him fed off of that energy. We threw and caught the ball and did some things yesterday in practice better than what we’ve done on previous Sundays.”
Ash said Laviano would continue to get snaps in practice, but the starting job belongs to Recigno for the immediate future.
“This isn’t a deal (where) I’m trying to make the quarterback position a revolving door, and that’s what it’s been, as we try to continually search for the right fit, the right person, to give us the right production and the right type of leadership out on the field that we want,” said the first-year coach, whose team is riding a four-game losing streak. “And hopefully Gio is the guy that can do that.”
AP’s college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org