South Carolina Football: 3 takeaways from win over Eastern Illinois

(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) /
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The South Carolina football program ushered in a new era with their season-opening victory against Eastern Illinois. The era of “Beamer Ball’, a term lovingly coined by fans of Coach Frank Beamer and now his son, first-year head coach Shane Beamer, has arrived.

Beamer replaced Will Muschamp, who was let go mid-season last year, and from his first press conference following the announcement of his hiring, there was a renewed energy in the program and the faithful fan base. The energy carried into spring training and onto the field of Williams Brice Stadium on Saturday night.

Before Saturday’s dominating win over the Panthers, the Gamecocks’ last win was October 10, 2020, against Vanderbilt. Needless to say, it was a long season, and most fans were ready for it to end long before the final game against Kentucky. However, if this team’s performance and energy indicate what to expect this season, South Carolina football won’t finish second to last in the SEC.

Here’s a look at three takeaways from the Gamecocks’ win.

Noland Gets The Job Done

There was much grumbling and questioning Coach Beamer’s decision to start Graduate Assistant Zeb Noland after Luke Doty hurt himself during practice a couple of weeks ago. Nolan previously played for the Iowa State Cyclones and the North Dakota State Bison before South Carolina.

He’s an experienced player, and after spending the offseason, preseason, and practices with Coach Beamer, he knew what to do to get the job done and secured the No. 1 quarterback spot for the opening game.

Noland threw his first touchdown pass on South Carolina football’s second possession when he connected with Nick Muse for the score and then again for the two-point conversion, giving the Gamecocks the early lead.

Then Muse hit Jaheim Bell with a three-yard touchdown pass on their next possession and extended the lead 15-0 with just over three minutes left to go in the first quarter. Noland finished the first half with yet another touchdown pass, hitting ZaWuandre White for the 10-yard score, and the Gamecocks held the lead 29-0.

Noland finished his first game as a Gamecock with 13 of 22 attempts for 121 yards, four touchdowns, and no interceptions. Not bad at all for a graduate assistant turned starting quarterback. Noland will remain active on the roster even when Doty returns to the field.