Junior Tay Bender was named Southeast Missouri’s starting quarterback following the team’s practice Thursday. The Lincoln, Nebraska native transferred to SEMO from Iowa Western Community College. He came out of spring drills as the number one QB on the Redhawks depth chart and won the job finishing with a strong fall camp.
Bender, 6’4″, 220, was a two-time All-Midwest Conference selection for Iowa Western CC, leading his team to a 22-2 record over the last two seasons. He completed 166-of-282 passes (58.9 pct.) for 1,912 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2014, as the Reivers went 11-1 and finished runner-up in the junior college national championship game. Bender also rushed for 184 yards and another four TDs on 82 carries.
Bender enrolled at Kansas State following high school and worked with the second-team offense during the Wildcats spring drills in 2012 before transferring to Iowa Western CC before the 2013 campaign.
Bender beat out true freshman Dante Vandeven from Jackson, Mo. and senior Alex Niznak for the starting job. Vandeven and Niznak are currently No. 2 and No. 3 on the depth chart, respectively.