BATON ROUGE, La. – Southern’s offense had a surprise starter take the field Saturday: backup quarterback Glendon “Bubba” McDaniel.

Interim head coach Jason Rollins said starter Ladarius Skelton was healthy, following the week one loss at Troy, but after Saturday’s game, Rollins confirmed Skelton had been dealing with an injury from last week and was not healthy to play.

The question became “when did Bubba know he would start?” The answer: right before kickoff.

“I was excited. I just had to calm my nerves and focus on doing my job, doing my one-eleven and help lead this team. The game is just like practice, just with more people watching so that’s all I thought about: just doing my job. Nothing else,” McDaniel said.

His calm focus showed on the field. McDaniel finished with 200 total yards, 140 through the air and 60 on the ground. The main area Bubba dominated was the passing attack. He completed 10/13 passing attempts, including a 36-yard strike to wide receiver Marquis McClain for a touchdown.

“He came out and executed our game plan, scored, drove the ball, led our offense and exactly what we expect of a fourth-year senior,” Rollins added.

McDaniel was the offense’s general, but running backs Craig Nelson and Devon Benn served well as lieutenants. The duo combined for 203 rushing yards and three scores, including Nelson’s 68-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

“They ran the ball amazing, hard, and the emphasis was run to break a tackle; and that’s exactly what they did tonight,” McDaniel noted.

“In the first half, we seen we can run the ball. Devon Benn did a great job at running. Me and him did a great job at running. We came out. We said ‘hey, we gotta run the ball.’ Passing was good, but we gotta run the ball. That’s our offense,” Nelson stated.

The Jags totaled five rushing touchdowns, and the offense dominated the second half with three straight drives finishing in the endzone.

Southern suffered one significant issue: defensive end Jordan Lewis exited the game in the second quarter and was sidelined for the rest of the night. Rollins had no injury update during the post-game presser.

Up next, Southern will host Rollins’ alma mater McNeese at 6 p.m. September 18th.

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