NCF Nation: Rice UCF

There are several quarterback battles still up in the air as we get closer to the start of the season. Here is Part I of our series looking at the races going on among the non-AQ schools:

MOUNTAIN WEST

BYU

Between: Riley Nelson and Jake Heaps.

Who has the edge: Coach Bronco Mendenhall says the two are dead even after a scrimmage Saturday. Nelson was allowed to run the ball in the scrimmage for the first time, shedding his non-contact jersey. Nelson, who brings more mobility, ran six times for 39 yards, and went 9-of-13 for 69 yards and a touchdown. Heaps, who came into school as a very highly touted prospect, went 8-of-11 for 56 yards.

When will we know: Mendenhall says a starting quarterback probably won’t be selected until game week against Washington.

UNLV

[+] EnlargeClayton
Boyd Ivey/Icon SMIOmar Clayton is the incumbent at UNLV, but he split snaps with Mike Clausen in Saturday's scrimmage.
Between: Omar Clayton and Mike Clausen.

Who has the edge: Clayton has been the starter for the last two years, while Clausen has received some starts when Clayton has been injured. But the two have been in a heated competition throughout the spring and fall under new coach Bobby Hauck, who brings a more balanced offensive system. They each took 10 snaps in Saturday’s final scrimmage.

When will we know: Hauck doesn’t have a timetable for a decision.

CONFERENCE USA

East Carolina

Between: Brad Wornick and Dominique Davis.

Who has the edge: Wornick was the starter after spring drills, but Davis has played well during fall camp. They are two different players. Wornick, a former walk-on, has never thrown a pass in a college game. Davis, who is more athletic, transferred in from junior college and spent part of 2008 as the starter at Boston College.

When will we know: Coach Ruffin McNeill says a decision will be made by next week.

Memphis

Between: Cannon Smith and Ryan Williams.

Who has the edge: Smith was thought to be the front-runner, but Williams has emerged during fall camp. The freshman enrolled at Memphis during the spring semester and has shown poise. He split reps with Smith, a transfer from Miami, during the last fall scrimmage.

When will we know: No timetable for an announcement.

Rice

Between: Taylor McHargue, Nick Fanuzzi and Taylor Cook.

Who has the edge: Coach Dave Bailiff was supposed to name a starter after last week’s scrimmage, but wanted more time before deciding between his three candidates. Fanuzzi is the incumbent, having thrown for 1,598 yards, 11 touchdowns and 8 INT last season. Cook is a Miami transfer, while McHargue has been slowed because of an ankle injury. Fanuzzi should still have an edge because of his experience.

When will we know: Any day.

UCF

Between: Rob Calabrese and Jeffrey Godfrey.

Who has the edge: Calabrese went into fall camp as the starter, but Godfrey has crept up behind him. Now coach George O’Leary says the competition is open again. Calabrese went into last season as the starter but struggled before getting benched. Godfrey, a dynamic freshman, broke Jacory Harris’ prep passing numbers in Miami-Dade.

When will we know: O’Leary says he won’t make a decision until the season opener against South Dakota on Sept. 4.

WAC

San Jose State

Between: Jordan La Secla and Matt Faulkner

Who has the edge: La Secla is the incumbent, but Faulkner has pushed him hard during camp. The two combined to complete 26 of 32 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown in the final scrimmage. Faulkner, who started his career at Fresno State, played at junior college last season and threw for 3,301 yards and 30 touchdowns.

When will we know: Depth chart is scheduled to be released today.

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