LAWRENCE — Dating back to the 2010 college football season, the Kansas Jayhawks have had just one quarterback throw for double-digit touchdowns in a season. Jordan Webb threw 13 TD passes during the 2011 season.
So, naturally, Jayhawk fans should be excited with the news of a quarterback competition in fall camp between two legitimate candidates, who just happen to be roommates.
The incumbent, redshirt sophomore Carter Stanley, appeared in nine games for Kansas in 2016. The challenger, Peyton Bender, transferred to KU from Itawamba Community College.
“They both have skill sets that are good,” Kansas offensive coordinator Doug Meacham said. “One guy is a little bit better than the other at one thing and vice versa.
“We just have to assess which one fits as a whole and which one we can do the most with. ... I think it’s great to just continue to watch it moving forward.”
Opening day against Southeast Missouri is less than a month away — Sept. 2 — but head coach David Beaty feels no rush to name a starter right away.
“I love the competition,” Beaty said. “We’ve got two very talented guys there who are operating this offense at a very high level. ... They do a lot of things very differently, but they both move very well.”
After rotating in at quarterback to start his redshirt freshman season in 2016, Stanley started the final three games of the year. He threw for 959 yards and six touchdowns, while rushing 32 times for 124 yards.
In Kansas’ biggest win of the season against Texas, Stanley led the Jayhawks on a 52-yard drive to set up the game-tying field goal as time expired.
The following week, against a Kansas State team that finished near the top of the Big 12, Stanley threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns, as well as rushing for 52 yards in 10 carries.
Winning the quarterback competition in 2016 has Stanley feeling relaxed about the competition this season.
“I have been in this situation before, including high school, so I know I have to come to work every day and bring it,” Stanley said. “Whether I am named the starter or the fourth string, I have to bring it every day, the same mentality just trying to make the guys around me better.”
Bender spent the 2016 season at Itawamba Community College after playing his freshman year at Washington State.
As a freshman in the Pac-12, Bender played in five games for the Cougars, starting against Washington in the Apple Cup. He finished the season with 498 passing yards and three touchdowns, including one against Washington and one against No. 18 UCLA.
At Itawamba, he threw for 2,733 yards and 21 touchdowns while completing 65 percent of his passes.
Though he’s competing against his roommate, it’s all business on the field for Bender.
“It does not change much,” Bender said. “Me and Carter do have a good relationship, but on the field, it’s all ball and when I go out there, I try to control what I can control and do what I can do.”