UB third-string QB Kyle Vantrease getting starting reps at practice - The Buffalo News

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UB third-string QB Kyle Vantrease getting starting reps at practice

UB has dealt with ambiguity at quarterback for three weeks. The questions were compounded after another injury Saturday.

Coach Lance Leipold had no update Tuesday on Drew Anderson, who left Saturday's game against Northern Illinois with an upper-body injury.

"Yesterday was a pretty light day," Leipold said. "He didn't go through anything. Hopefully I'll have more news, better news as we progress through the day and into tomorrow. ... We'll name a starter closer to kickoff."

Anderson being unavailable would mean a start at Miami for third-stringer and true freshman Kyle Vantrease, who went into the game after Anderson's injury. Vantrease is taking all the starting reps at practice, with redshirt freshman Dominic Johnson serving as the backup.

Tyree Jackson, the team's starter going into the season, is still rehabbing from the knee injury he suffered against Florida Atlantic on Sept. 23.

If Vantrease starts he'll be the first true freshman QB to do so at UB since Drew Willy in 2005. It'll also mark the first time three QBs started for UB in the same season since 2004.

For Leipold, it's entirely uncharted territory.

"I've never lost two in a season," Leipold said. "If Kyle ends up being the starter, I can't remember any time in my coaching career starting a true freshman."

Anderson was knocked out of the Northern Illinois game after taking a stiff blind-side hit from the nation's leading sack-getter, Sutton Smith, late in the second quarter. He tried to stay in the game, but was pulled after calling a timeout before the ensuing play. A few minutes later, he was carted to the locker room.

UB's offense struggled to score with Vantrease at the helm. The Bulls' third-stringer came into the game at third-and-goal at Northern Illinois's 5-yard line. He unsuccessfully threw a fade to Anthony Johnson, setting up an Adam Mitcheson field goal. Those were the only points the Bulls put on the board after Anderson's injury.

Vantrease went 8 for 16 for 153 yards and an interception, but 90 of those yards came on two plays in the fourth quarter. He heaved a ball from his own 1-yard line to a leaping Johnson for 47 yards. Two plays later, he threw a 43-yard pass to Antonio Nunn, who made an impressive move to get above the cornerback to make the catch.

"I thought he did fine for what he was thrown into," Leipold said. "I never saw a point of rattled or panicked in him."

Vantrease, a native of Stow, Ohio, was a first-team all-state selection at Stow-Munroe Falls High School. He threw for 5,680 yards and 50 touchdowns in his high school career.

"The hope was to redshirt him," Leipold said. "When Tyree went down, we told him, 'If anything happened we were going to go ahead and play you.'"

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