The Daily Gamecock

Preview: Zeb Noland to start at quarterback as Gamecocks head to College Station

Fresh off a come-from-behind victory, South Carolina graduate quarterback Zeb Noland will start on the road against No. 17 Texas A&M at Kyle Field on Saturday night. 

On Tuesday, head coach Shane Beamer revealed sophomore quarterback Luke Doty's season is over after re-injuring his foot against Vanderbilt. 

"From talking to a lot of people in this program, I had been told before the Vanderbilt game that (Doty) is one of, probably one in two — no disrespect to any other player — but one of the toughest players to ever play here at Carolina along with Connor Shaw," Beamer said. "He showed that Saturday night. Appreciate his toughness and hate it for him. Hate it for our football team."

Doty will undergo surgery to repair his foot later this week, putting Noland in the position of anchoring the offense from here on out. 

"Zeb is 2-0 as a starter, and in his last game that he had started we had gone right down the field on Georgia and we were in the red zone when he got hurt," Beamer said. "Then he came in and won the game the other day on that drive, so I'm confident in Zeb."

Looking ahead, the Gamecocks will have a big challenge this weekend in facing a rejuvenated Aggies' squad that upset then-No. 1 ranked Alabama earlier this month.

Since stepping in for an injured Haynes King in week two, redshirt sophomore quarterback Zach Calzada has continued to progress for Texas A&M. Playing in six games and making four starts, he has thrown for 1,177 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions. 

Jennifer Streeter, co-sports editor of The Battalion, thinks Calzada has always been underestimated, and has "a lot of skill and potential."

"The atmosphere of Kyle Field against Alabama really helped Calzada with his play, because he really heard the 12th man cheering him on and chanting his name," Streeter said. "He just really finally showed his potential and I think the game plan of that game was just amazing." 

Surrounding Calzada, the Aggies are loaded with talent on offense. Along with a receiving corps led by juniors Ainias Smith and Jalen Wydermyer, the running game has been critical in the team's success. 

With junior running back Isaiah Spiller and sophomore running back Devon Achane being a dynamic duo in the backfield, South Carolina's defense will have its hands full, as they have combined to rush for 1,113 yards and eight touchdowns. 

"The (running) backs are very patient, got great vision, do a great job of letting holes develop, and if you get out of a gap against these guys, it's a 30-yard explosive run," Beamer said. "So, we've got to be extremely discipline on defense and gap-sound, and do a great job from that standpoint." 

Defensively, Texas A&M possesses the second-ranked scoring defense in the SEC, and has greatly improved in recent weeks.

"I was kind of disappointed with Texas A&M's defense prior to the showing against Alabama," Streeter said. "Defensive coordinator Mike Elko really had the defense step up to the plate... I think now that they showed that they can really hold their own, especially against then-No. 1 Crimson Tide, I think that will really boost their confidence and really increase the defense's skill moving forward when it comes to stopping plays in the red zone."

Despite winning their last two games, Streeter said how the Aggies handle their lack of confidence could impact the results against South Carolina. 

"It was hard to see the team suffer from their lack of confidence through losing to Mississippi State and through losing to Arkansas," Streeter said. "I think the players need to learn to compartmentalize a little bit, and I think that if they continue to do that like they did against Alabama, that more wins will be coming their way."

South Carolina and Texas A&M will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday on SEC Network. 


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