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JSU QB Therriault stays grounded despite skill as passer
A year ago at this time, Jackson State coach Rick Comegy was still learning what he had in quarterback Casey Therriault, a junior college transfer who came out firing away in his debut with a 404-yard, three-touchdown effort.
Now, the entire Football Championship Subdivision knows about Therriault’s gun-slinging efforts as he is on the Walter Payton Award watch list and was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s preseason Player of the Year. He’s also been featured twice in stories on ESPN.com.
Therriault, a native of Wyoming Park, Mich., came to JSU out of Grand Rapids Community College and promptly threw for 3,436 yards, second-best in the nation. He was third with an average of 312 passing yards per game, accounting for 31 touchdowns in the air, while rushing for another 10 as he led the Tigers to an 8-3 season.
“It’s something that you prepare for,” Therriault said. “You go game in and game out and try not to think about it. At the end of the season, it just kind of adds up. You look back and you’re kind of proud, and at the same time you’re kind of shocked.”
Despite all of the preseason attention, Therriault has remained the same level-headed quarterback he was when he arrived on campus last summer fighting for a starting job.
That demeanor is what has been most impressive to Comegy.
“I’ve never seen a guy as humble as Casey,” Comegy said. “It just doesn’t seem to faze him and I’m glad. I think he’s been blessed not to let it go to his head. He’s running around just like he ran around last year. He gets with his buddies as if nothing is going on. He’s just enjoying life.”
Ask Therriault about any goals that he’s set for this season and you’ll get nothing personal. In fact, his only goal is for the Tigers to go undefeated.
Playing winning football is all that’s on Therriault’s mind, which is why he wasn’t overly concerned that he only threw for 218 yards and one touchdown in the Tigers’ season opener last week. JSU defeated Concordia College, 42-2.
“It’s just a game and I try not to take it for granted,” he said. “I don’t try to put myself ahead of anybody, or above anything. That sometimes can get lost with people that start taking it for granted.”
But Therriault does understand he must perform better, beginning with Saturday’s Southern Heritage Classic against rival Tennessee State, if the Tigers are to reach their goal of being crowned black national champions at the end of the season.
In his first SHC appearance last year, Therriault threw for 284 yards and four touchdowns as the Tigers snapped a seven-game losing streak to TSU, winning 33-26. He was named the game’s MVP.
“It was obviously one of the biggest games as far as importance and the university’s status of not winning the game in a while,” he said. “It’s a very exciting game and I’m excited to play in it again.”
By Marlon W. Morgan, Memphis Commercial Appeal