There will be no game-time decision on Austin Howard this Saturday against UT-San Antonio.
The senior quarterback will miss his second consecutive game with an injury to his posterior cruciate ligament (PCL), which he suffered in the fourth quarter of Southern’s season opener against South Carolina State.
“We’ve got three quarterbacks that we’ve got to get ready to play and (Howard is) not one of them,” said Southern coach Dawson Odums. “He’s day-to-day, he’s rehabbing, we’re trying to get him back healthy, but as of right now he’s out.
“We’ve got to get those next guys ready.”
That group is made up of redshirt freshman Darquez Lee and true freshmen Bubba McDaniel and John Lampley.
Though McDaniel received the start in Howard’s place against Southern Miss, Odums said Monday he was not ready to say which of the three would start in San Antonio.
“We’ll evaluate it throughout the week,” Odums said.
All three played against Southern Miss, though Lampley only took the field for one play, gaining 8 yards on a quarterback draw.
McDaniel earned the top backup job in Southern’s preseason camp, but looked overwhelmed in his first collegiate start by the speed and varied looks of the Southern Miss defense.
One of the goals for the Southern defense this season is to limit the number of explosive pl…
He completed 5 of his 16 attempts for 22 yards, was sacked three times and threw a pair of interceptions, the second of which ended his night on the third play of the second half when it was returned 46 yards for a score.
“They gave him all kinds of different looks, came at him from different ways,” Odums said. “We did a great job protecting him, he had time, he just didn’t deliver the ball.”
Lee took over after McDaniel’s second interception and finished the game. The game was already well out of hand, but Southern put together its best offensive drives with him in the game.
The Jaguars gained 29 net offensive yards in 10 drives with McDaniel under center, and 106 in four drives with Lee at quarterback.
In his first appearance in a college football game, Lee completed 5 of 10 passes for 56 yards. He also had a long on-target pass to Jamar Washington that was initially ruled a catch but was overturned by replay.
“I thought Lee had composure,” Odums said. “I really liked his calmness, and I thought he would give us the best chance to move the football.
“It’s tough on those true freshmen, but I think they’re going to be great quarterbacks. I look for them to play a lot better this week than they did this last week.”
Whomever earns the starting nod for this week may not matter entirely, as Southern could easily play all three freshmen for the second straight week.
Odums was unable to provide a definitive timetable for when Howard might return. He said Howard was rehabilitating the injury and was considered “day-to-day.”
But Howard’s injury is significant enough that he is not being held out simply as a precautionary measure with the Southwestern Athletic Conference opener against Alcorn State looming next week.
“He needs to be held out,” Odums said. “I don’t think, if we had to play a conference opponent this weekend, he’d be ready to go.”
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Grambling stays at No. 24
Grambling rebounded from a rough opener against Tulane to drop Northwestern State 23-10 Saturday. That performance was enough to keep the Tigers at No. 24 in the latest STATS FCS top 25 poll.
After its 45-0 loss to Southern Miss, Southern did not receive any votes in the poll. It received four top 25 votes after beating South Carolina State in its opener.