Before the festivities of Memorial Day weekend, USF added a new contender to its already competitive quarterback position last Thursday with Steven Bench, a transfer student and former quarterback at Penn State.
“His addition will also elevate the competition at quarterback, which will be good for all the players at the position,” USF coach Willie Taggart said.
Bench, who has three years of NCAA eligibility left after spending his first year with the Nittany Lions, was just one of six true freshmen to play last season and only the third at quarterback for Penn State in the past eight years. Most of that honor, that rarity, of being the true freshman taking snaps come game time was experienced for a single game.
In week two for Penn State, the Nittany Lions were off to a 7-0 lead on the road at Virginia when in the second quarter Matt McGloin, the original starter, was injured on third down. It was time for Bench to come off the bench.
With McGloin needing medical attention and Bench under center, Penn State gambled and went for it on fourth down. Bench was sacked on his first play taking snaps for a loss of two yards.
McGloin would return to the field only to be taken out again later that quarter. With a 7-3 lead over Virginia it was time for Bench to make an impact. In a drive that included Bench’s first completion on his first pass attempt, for seven yards, he would also run for a gain of 15 yards and complete one more pass for five yards as time in the first half expired.
The Bench era at Penn Stat ended with eight attempts, one coming from a game later in the season, for 12 yards.
With Penn State adding its own weapons to the quarterback position, Bench has decided to give himself what should be a better opportunity with the Bulls. With no a USF starting job set in stone, according to Taggart, Bench is getting the opportunity that he may not have had up north — this is a time for Bench to join Taggart’s “do something” attitude.
His competition at quarterback includes redshirt sophomore Matt Floyd, senior Bobby Eveld and freshman Mike White for the
Bench is originally from the south. Playing for Cairo High School in Georgia, Bench was selected the Region 1-AAA Offensive Player of the Year during his senior year, where he threw for 11 touchdowns on 1,200 yards and rushed for nine touchdowns.
“We’re looking forward to his arrival on campus so he can start working out with the guys while getting acclimated to the way we do things,” Taggart said.