Substitute QB Zion Webb leads JSU to a 19-10 victory over FIU after Cooper breaks leg

Substitute Quarterback Zion Webb (10) filled in for Zerrick Cooper after Cooper sustained a broken leg on the Gamecock's third offensive drive. The Gamecocks won 19-10. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)Substitute Quarterback Zion Webb (10) filled in for Zerrick Cooper after Cooper sustained a broken leg on the Gamecock's third offensive drive. The Gamecocks won 19-10. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Stephen Duke, Correspondent

The Jacksonville State Gamecocks wrap up the fall non-conference slate for the 2020-2021 season with a 19-10 win over the Florida International Golden Panthers on Friday.

The win put the Gamecocks at 3-1, with the lone defeat coming to Florida State 41-24 in the opener.

While there was a lot of good in this win, it was also filled with a bit of heaviness as Zerrick Cooper went out on the third offensive play of the game from scrimmage. Cooper suffered a broken leg, as well as hurting his knee when it hit against the field’s turf. Cooper was able to run off the field. 

From that point, it became the Zion Webb show, who led the Gamecocks on a 98-yard touchdown drive that was capped off when Josh Samuel rushed into the endzone.

“I felt comfortable and knew those guys had my back,” quarterback Zion Webb said about going in following Cooper’s injury. “All I had to do was my job, and they did the rest.”

The Gamecocks dominated in time of possession, holding the ball for over forty minutes of the game. JSU also outgained FIU in yards 444-156. JSU had a combined 279 yards rushing from Samuel and Uriah West. The Gamecocks total 285 yards rushing, and also had two players rush for over 100 yards for the first time since November 16, 2017.

“I felt great,” said Samuel. “I got a lot of carries tonight, and the offensive line was outstanding.

Samuel said that the momentum “shifted” after Cooper sustained a broken leg, but that Zion showed his abilities to the fullest.

“I told them they got a meal on me,” he said.

“I thought our guys played great,” said head coach John Grass about his team’s win in his first game back after testing positive for COVID-19 on Oct. 15. “We talked about it all week long about playing a full sixty minutes, and I felt like we did that tonight. Our guys kept making plays all evening.”

With the win, the Gamecocks defeated their first Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since 2013, when the Gamecocks defeated Georgia State. The Gamecocks will now prepare for the conference schedule which kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 21, when the Gamecocks travel to Nashville, Tennessee to take on the Tennessee State Tigers.

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