The Gamecocks (10-3, 6-1 in Ohio Valley) flip-flopped quarterback injuries while playing the most games in the FCS over the fall/spring season.
In switching to the WAC-ASUN Challenge this fall, Zerrick Cooper (7,491 passing yards and 61 TDs in 29 JSU games) will be back in for Zion Webb, and the rushing of Josh Samuel and Uriah West will set up the pass.
The defense boasts defensive end D.J. Coleman and safety Nicario Harper and gets back cornerback Kobi Fuqua and edge rusher Taj Stewart from injuries. The Gamecocks held opponents to just 2.6 yards per carry across the 13-game season.
S Nicario Harper: Had 92 total tackles (46 solo, 46 assisted), one fumble recovery and three interceptions.
DE D.J. Coleman: Had 54 total tackles (26 solo, 28 assisted), 12 tackles for loss, nine sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery.
QB Zerrick Cooper: Has thrown for 7,491 yards and 61 TDs in 29 JSU games.
Key Game: September 1 vs. UAB (in Montgomery, Alabama)
Worst Case: The physical and emotional toll of playing 24 football games during a 15 month span takes its toll on the team and gasses them just when they need it most in mid-October vs. Sam Houston and Central Arkansas.
Best Case: Zerrick Cooper, who didn’t play in the spring as he recuperated from injury, comes back and takes the ASUN-WAC Challenge by storm and carries the team on his back to the title and even more football games in December.
Rob Butler is a lifelong Texas A&M football fan – his family is full of A&M graduates. He graduated from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas with two degrees – a BBA in Finance and an MBA. His hobbies include jogging and reading books pertaining to college football.