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Dr. Lemak Discusses JSU’s Quarterback Marques Ivory’s Season-Ending Injury With The Anniston Star

JACKSONVILLE — Losing a veteran starting quarterback the way Jacksonville State did in its season opener Thursday night can be devastating to a season, but the head coach and offensive coordinator both were confident Friday the Gamecocks will be all right going forward — and with minimal tweaking of the playbook.

Senior quarterback Marques Ivory underwent season-ending surgery Friday in Birmingham on the fractured right fibula he sustained in the second quarter of Thursday’s dramatic 24-23 season-opening conference win over UT Martin.

Although the one-hour operation was considered a success, Ivory is expected to miss the rest of the season, the school said. The Gamecocks will seek a medical redshirt for the senior, who has played in all three of his previous seasons with the team.

Interestingly, preseason all-conference offensive tackle Odie Rush had similar surgery three weeks ago, but he is expected to return at midseason. The team medical staff, headed by surgeon Dr. Larry Lemak, said they were “different types of injuries,” in addition to its severity and timing, athletic department spokesman Greg Seitz said.

Upon Ivory’s injury, the ninth-ranked Gamecocks immediately installed true sophomore Coty Blanchard as the starter for next week’s game at No. 21 Chattanooga and moved Thomas Darrah and Steven Coates up in the backup rotation. They will practice for the first time in that mode Monday after the coaching staff spends the Labor Day weekend trying to figure out how to make it work.

“I think we’ll be OK,” offensive coordinator Ronnie Letson said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who are good around him. The thing Coty has to realize — all the quarterbacks have to realize — is you don’t have to win the game for us, just put us in position to win it. You’ve got to let players make the plays for you. I have no doubt about those guys making a lot of plays.”