It’s official, folks: In place of the presumptive starter but injured Luke Doty, Zeb Noland will take the reins at quarterback for the Gamecocks this weekend in the season opener against Eastern Illinois.
Up until just a few short weeks ago, when disaster struck with Doty’s foot injury, Noland was a graduate assistant for South Carolina. The 6-foot-2, 232-pound Georgia native started his college career at Iowa State before transferring to North Dakota State, where he backed up first-round NFL Draft pick Trey Lance in 2020 and started for the Bison last season before being benched in favor of a true freshman. In seven games, he threw for 721 yards with five touchdowns against six interceptions.
Crucially, though, Noland still has a year of eligibility remaining, and is the most veteran quarterback on South Carolina’s roster. True freshman Colten Gauthier and St. Francis (FCS) transfer Jason Brown are also battling for snaps, but it’s easy to understand why the staff pressed Noland into emergency service.
The good news, if there is any, is that Eastern Illinois is an FCS program; given the Power 5 opponents the Gamecocks have played in recent openers, this situation could be a whole lot worse. South Carolina shouldn’t have any problems running a crazy experiment at quarterback this week, and hopefully this gives Doty the time he needs to heal.
Never a dull moment in Columbia, that’s for certain.