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Kansas QB Peyton Bender deflects credit for 566-yard passing day

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Washington State quarterback Peyton Bender in action in an NCAA college football game against Washington Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Seattle. Bender, who played his sophomore season at Itawamba Community College, signed Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, with Kansas football.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Washington State quarterback Peyton Bender in action in an NCAA college football game against Washington Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Seattle. Bender, who played his sophomore season at Itawamba Community College, signed Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, with Kansas football. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The number is so unusual that it forces you to re-read it to make sure your eyes aren’t messing with you again.

Quarterbacks don’t throw for 566 yards every day. In fact, not many at any level ever throw for that many yards in a single game.

Kansas quarterback Peyton Bender did as a sophomore at Itawamba Community College in Mississippi, where he played a season after spending two (one as a redshirt) in Mike Leach’s Washington State Air Raid offense. The fact that Bender’s freakish total was amassed against the most famous football team in junior college charges the number with an even louder echo.

It came in a 44-42 loss to East Mississippi, the school introduced to America in “Last Chance U,” a wildly popular Netflix Documentary about a football team rife with talented transfer students who either grew impatient waiting for playing time or ran afoul of the law and had to find a new place to continue their football careers and rehabilitate their tainted images.

If you haven't seen the documentary series, make it happen soon. East Mississippi’s head coach, Buddy Stephens, at times in the six-episode series makes Mount Vesuvius look like Lake Placid.

“I didn’t meet him or get the chance to speak with him, but I saw him over there throughout the game,” Bender said.

Netflix is scheduled to air a second season of episodes in the summer and it will chronicle East Mississippi’s 2016 season.

“I was a big fan of the first season,” Bender said of Last Chance U. “I thought it was really cool, something I could relate to because I was going to play in the Mississippi League. I don’t know how many highlights of mine they’ll be showing, but the Netflix crew was there for our game and all that, so it was a cool experience.”

In answering questions about his monster day against juco’s most famous football factory, Bender deftly and sincerely deflected credit.

“Our coaching staff did a great job of putting together a good game plan and it was just a night where our offense clicked,” Bender said. “Everything seemed to be working and I have to attribute a lot of that to the coaching staff. Everything was clicking. Receivers were making good catches for me and on some of them I only threw the ball 10 yards and they took it for 70 yards.”

Bender has had a chance to work with KU's receivers in seven-on-seven drills and said, "I like what I see."

What else is he supposed to say? But there is reason for optimism with Alabama transfer Daylon Charlot joining speedy returning receivers Steven Sims and LaQuvionte Gonzalez.

Comments

Dale Rogers 4 months ago

Really getting excited for the coming football season!

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