It’s official. The South Carolina football team is making a change at quarterback ahead of the matchup with Texas A&M.
Head coach Shane Beamer announced his decision to anoint graduate transfer Zeb Noland as QB1 when the Gamecocks travel to College Station this weekend. Noland has made three starts during his time in Columbia, winning contests against Eastern Illinois and East Carolina, while dropping a start versus top ranked Georgia.
He was an integral piece of last weekend’s 21-20 victory over Vanderbilt as he entered the game on the final drive to lead the Gamecocks to a come from behind win. With his team trailing 20-14 to the Commodores, Noland was inserted into the lineup with just 1:36 left on the clock. The signal caller connected on five of his eight passing attempts to move the offense 75 yards down the field for the final score.
Luke Doty played well for the majority of the game, throwing for 242 yards and a pair of scores, but a couple of fourth quarter interceptions helped Vanderbilt get back into the game after the Gamecocks jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
The rest of the Gamecock offense did Doty no favors, fumbling twice to set up Vanderbilt touchdowns and once failing to convert a fourth down attempt inside the redzone. The team also committed 10 penalties, many of which killed offensive drives. In all, South Carolina gave the ball up five times to the Commodores, and despite outgaining their opposition 429-312, they trailed entering that final drive.
Luckily for the Gamecocks, Zeb Noland answered the call.
Zeb Noland gives South Carolina football the best chance to win
Noland is the best option for the South Carolina offense at the moment. It was pretty evident that Doty was not 100% towards the end of the Vanderbilt game. He looked slow when on the run and began airmailing receivers late in the contest trying to throw off of that injured foot.
It’s an injury that Doty has been dealing with since the preseason after being stepped on by a teammate during Fall practice. That setback held him out of the first two games of the year before being forced into action against Georgia following a hand injury to Noland.
Now, Noland finds himself back under center, and he could be there to stay. There’s been no timetable set for Doty’s return. Coach Beamer also announced that transfer Jason Brown will serve as the backup with freshman Colten Gauthier being the third option off the bench.
Though Vanderbilt played soft coverage on that final drive, it appears evident that Noland has a better grip of the offense as a whole. He’ll be sure to see a lot more pressure from the Aggies next week but he undoubtedly gives the Gamecocks the best chance to compete. The job is now Noland’s to lose, let’s see how he performs with the keys to the offense.