When Missouri State kicks off its season against Oklahoma in Norman on Saturday first-year Bears head coach Bobby Petrino will have a familiar face leading his offense. Former Southern Miss quarterback Jaden Johnson was named the starting quarterback on Monday, a decision that shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Johnson’s relationship with Petrino goes back to his high school days when he was a 3-star recruit coming out of Memphis, Tennessee. He shunned his hometown Tigers, and the Georgia Bulldogs, to commit to Petrino’s Louisville Cardinals but then ended up at Southern Miss when Louisville let Petrino go. Now the two are reunited in Springfield, Missouri and hoping for great things.
“It was a pretty easy decision,” Petrino said of naming his starting quarterback in a Monday Zoom call. “He kind of separated himself early. He’s very talented, he’s got a great mindset for a quarterback and he’s got great leadership qualities and I think he’s just going to get better and better.”
“…we’re the best team in the FCS,” Johnson said on the Zoom call when asked what he hoped to prove on Saturday. “We want to show the country that we’re a different team with a different mindset. We’re out there to play hard, play tough, play physical and have fun at the same time while doing it together.”
MSU running back Jeremiah Wilson has struggled with injuries through his first two seasons of college ball. Petrino confirmed on Monday that his third season will start that way as well.
“Jeremiah’s not gonna be able to go in the game, which is at one point disappointing, but also the fact that he is getting healthier and, you know, has his speed back and his balance back and all that,” Petrino said. “But he won’t be able to go. We’ve got everybody else that should be ready to go.”
Wilson has rushed for 442 yards and five touchdowns over his two injury-shortened seasons. In just two games last season he averaged 11.0 yards on 15 carries.
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