2012 FCS Playoffs: Jerick McKinnon steadies Georgia Southern

Scott Cunningham

After switching positions, Eagles quarterback has proven to be a steady force under center this season.

After previous stints as a running back, wide receiver and cornerback, Jerick McKinnon switched to quarterback this season and became Georgia Southern's starter in the fifth game of the year against Western Carolina.

It's a switch that's paid dividends for both McKinnon and the Eagles, who play defending national champion North Dakota State (12-1) on Friday in the semifinals of the FCS playoffs.

"He's settled into a position. He knows he's the quarterback, and that's helped," quarterback coach Mitch Ware told the Statesboro Herald. "The game experience, getting 70 snaps a game and seeing things has made him more comfortable. I think he's become more of a quarterback. He's a junior, but until now Jerick has done what we wanted him to do, and we've asked a lot of him. He's played slot, fullback, wide receiver and corner. That's all probably helped him, though, from having learned every position and the assignments."

Since switching to quarterback -- and becoming the team's starter -- McKinnon has rushed for 1,294 yards and 15 touchdowns. His presence under center has coaches and players confident heading into Friday's game against the Bison despite losing to them last season in the exact same game of the playoffs.

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