Thousands of screaming fans drenched in rain filled Ladd-Peebles Stadium when Eagle quarterbacks Kevin Ellison and Favian Upshaw led their team to its first bowl win at the 2015 GoDaddyBowl.
For Ellison and Upshaw, their friendship remains strong throughout their time at GS.
Because both players are extremely talented and capable in GS’s offensive scheme, they’ve split time at the position for the majority of their careers. Typically this could lead to a rivalry, but instead, the two have become best friends.
“Between us, it will never be a quarterback controversy,” Ellison said. “Never. We help each other out each and every day. I’m his biggest fan when he’s in the game. It’s good to have that type of chemistry.”
Before the bowl game, both players were amped. Upshaw was mentioning to Ellison that something big was going to happen. Ellison was the main quarterback in all three GS touchdown drives in the first half, including a 31-yard touchdown pass.
But after Upshaw ran for two scores on back-to-back drives, Ellison knew he had to take a backseat to his friend and let him take the reins.
“I was like ‘Coach, let Favian go.’ Because he had his mojo. He did a great job, he stepped up and led our team to the victory,” Ellison said.
Upshaw went on to score two more touchdowns in route to 199 rushing yards in the GS victory. Ellison was one of the most animated players on the sidelines whenever Upshaw scored.
For the rest of the team, it’s much easier playing with two quarterbacks when they’re great friends and have a strong bond on and off the field, and when both are as talented as the duo is.
“I’d say we have a swagger about us this year,” Upshaw said, referring to him and Ellison as well as the rest of the offense this season.
It’s a close enough battle that the head coach flipped a coin to decide who would start the first possession of the season.
“Their relationship helps every piece of it,” Tyson Summers, GS head coach, said. “To be honest, I don’t think our football team has an issue with it. I don’t think either one of them have an issue with it.”
It’s a not an issue for the offense when they change quarterbacks mid-drive or multiple times a game, something that has happened often the past few seasons.
“My job is to block people and move them out of the way so that they can go on and score,” GS center, Andy Kwon, said. “Those are my brothers and I have to take care of them.”
In the Ted Smith Family Football Center, a dozen or so reporters and athletics staff wandered around for a routine press conference. Upshaw is talking with a reporter off to the side. While Upshaw is answering questions, Ellison is behind the reporter with his cell phone out, making funny faces and videoing it, trying to get Upshaw to crack. Upshaw finishes and the two leave, laughing and joking about it.
Whatever happens on the field for the rest of the season, one thing is certain. These two seniors will enjoy every minute of it as friends and teammates.
Ellison said “We’re going to go out with a bang.”