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QB Primer: Noah Vedral has finally landed a starting role

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After a pair of transfers, the senior quarterback has a home in Piscataway.

NCAA Football: Indiana at Rutgers Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Normally when it is Rutgers week, it is a chance to make some jokes and skim through the preview content. However, that is not the case this year. Even if the Scarlet Knights are still a bad team, they cannot be overlooked because 1) they beat a team that beat the Michigan Wolverines this season and 2) Michigan itself is playing terribly right now without many signs of hope.

I put together a best/worst case scenario post before the season began that was supposed to be lighthearted, but also representative of what I truly felt was realistic at the time. Below is the entry for Rutgers:

Best case: Cade McNamara plays the entire second half and looks like a competent backup if Milton were to go down.

Worst case: The game is even remotely close after halftime.

Gulp. Suddenly McNamara is a legitimate threat to get the quarterback reps instead of being just a victory cigar, and a close score throughout the contest seems very realistic at this point. So yea, things are not going well. Anyway, onto the quarterback.

Penn State Quarterback Stats

Player Completion % Passing Yards Passing TDs Interceptions Rushing TDs
Player Completion % Passing Yards Passing TDs Interceptions Rushing TDs
Sean Clifford 57.2 1,070 11 8 1
Will Levis 57.4 325 0 0 0

College hopping

Quarterback transfers are not exactly rare, as the number of starting positions around the country are obviously limited. Noah Vedral was a modest recruit when he enrolled at Central Florida, and when playing time was unavailable, he moved back closer to home to contest for the Nebraska job. That never quite panned out, so this season he is suiting up for his third different team, this time with the opportunity to finally start.

The results have been modest so far. Vedral entered the year with under 100 career pass attempts, so his experience is much sparser than what a senior typically brings to the table. None of his numbers jump off the table: he has a 63.1 percent completion rate, but just 5.6 yards per attempt, and his interceptions outnumber his touchdowns.

Vedral does have some ability on the ground, as he showed on a nice touchdown run on a draw in the Scarlet Knights’ lone win against Michigan State. Honestly, he does not really seem that impressive or imposing on tape, but that typically is how it goes for Rutgers. He is playing better than last year’s starter Johnny Langan, though, so he technically is an upgrade at the position.

What to watch against Michigan

This is a tough game to predict. On one hand, Vedral really does not seem like a threat and is easily one of the bottom two quarterbacks the Wolverines will face this season. On the other hand, Rocky Lombardi is the other bottom-tier option, and he cut through the pathetic Michigan secondary all afternoon; meanwhile, Lombardi’s most recent outing saw him go 3-for-7 with two picks before being benched.

While the Wolverines held Wisconsin to just 127 passing yards, it was not because of stellar defensive play. Sure, there were a couple nice breakups by the secondary, but really the Badgers simply did not need to throw the ball because of how dominant the offense was on the ground. Even with a modest passing game, Wisconsin still had two touchdowns through the air with no interceptions.

Vedral should not tear up this defense, but would it really be a surprise if he did? Michigan has looked helpless on defense for three straight weeks, and though Rutgers is not a good team, neither are the Spartans, who were able to do as they pleased on offense a couple weeks ago. One thing is certain: if the Wolverines cannot handle Vedral and the Scarlet Knight passing game this week, then there is absolutely no chance they slow down anyone for the rest of the year.