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Buffalo's Kyle Vantrease might join the super-rare starting QB/punter club

Vantrease, who has already found himself in a really unique position, could soon add his name to the history books.

NCAA Football: Buffalo at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Vantrease could be the quarterback and punter this week when Buffalo hosts the Ohio Bobcats.

Vantrease started the season as Buffalo’s backup quarterback, but his roll changed quickly when he became the primary punter in week two after Evan Finegan was injured at Penn State (Vantrease has 13 punts since Finegan’s injury and kicker Jackson Baltar has 2).

Last week vs Miami, Vantrease got the call to go into the game in the third quarter at quarterback after starting QB Matt Myers was injured. Myers is reportedly doubtful for the game this week vs Ohio which leaves Vantrease as the potential starter, as he is still listed as the number two quarterback on the depth chart.

A player assuming the dual role of punter and quarterback doesn’t happen that often in modern college football and got us thinking: who are some of the greatest in college football to have done double duty?


Sammy Baugh, TCU Horned Frogs

Any conversation of all-time quarterback/punter greats starts with Sammy Baugh.

In an era of “three yards and a cloud of dust,” Sammy Baugh and his TCU teammates helped usher in the age of the forward pass. When Baugh wasn’t slinging the rock for TCU, he was punting it. According to pre-1937 records reviewed by author Tex Noel, Baugh’s 40.9-yard punting average was unofficially the third-best at the time of Baugh’s college career.

Baugh went on to a brilliant career in the NFL with the Washington Redskins, passing for over 21,000 yards and 187 touchdowns with 338 punts for 45.1-yard average. In 1943, Baugh led the league in passing attempts and completions, punting average, and interceptions (he played defensive back too, intercepting 11 passes in 1943).

Baugh was inducted into in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951 and the National Football League Hall of Fame in 1963.


Steve Spurrier, Florida Gators

Before Spurrier was coaching the Florida to championships, he was trying to win one as a quarterback and punter for the Gators. Although he never won a championship as a player, Spurrier did win the Heisman Trophy in 1966 when he passed for 2,012 yards and 16 touchdowns and kicked a 40-yard FG to beat the Auburn Tigers.

Spurrier was also the team’s punter, finishing his college career with an average of 40.3 yards per punt.

Spurrier was a first-round pick of the San Francisco 49ers and played ten seasons in the NFL, passing for 6,878 yards for 40 touchdowns and punting 230 times for a 38.3-yard average.

The College Football HOF inducted Spurrier twice, once as a player in 1986 and once as a coach in 2017.


Danny White, Arizona State University Sun Devils

In the early 1970s, Danny White shredded Western Athletic Conference defenses, helping to lead ASU to a 32-4 record and three Fiesta Bowl wins. White finished his college career with 6,717 yards passing, 64 passing touchdowns, and a 41.7-yard punting average as a three-year starter at quarterback and punter.

White was selected in the third round of the 1974 NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys and went on to a distinguished career as a quarterback and punter.

As starting QB, White led the Cowboys to five playoff appearances in six years, including three straight NFC Championship appearances from 1980-82.

White finished his NFL career with 21,959 passing yards, 155 passing touchdowns, and a 40.2-yard punting average on 610 career punts.

Danny White was inducted into the College Football HOF in 1997.


Randall Cunningham, UNLV Runnin’ Rebels

Cunningham took the NFL by storm in the 1980s as a dual-threat quarterback, racking up 29,979 yards passing and 207 passing touchdowns and 4,928 yards rushing for 35 more touchdowns.

But before Cunningham was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 1985 NFL draft, he was playing college football for UNLV as a dual-threat of a different skill-set: quarterback and punter.

Cunningham punted for UNLV for three seasons, averaging an incredible 45.6 yards per punt. In fact, he was so good that he was enshrined in the college football hall of fame in 2016 as a punter.

Cunningham also passed for 8,020 yards and 59 touchdowns at UNLV.


Tom Tupa, Ohio State Buckeyes

The last dual-role player may be watching Vantrease play this weekend because Tom Tupa’s son, Tyler Tupa, plays wide receiver for the Ohio Bobcats.

Tom Tupa played for Ohio State for four seasons as a full-time punter and one season as the starting quarterback. Tupa excelled at punting with a career average of 44.7 yards per punt including two seasons where he averaged over 47 yards per punt. Tupa also passed for 2,252 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Drafted in the third round of the 1988 NFL draft by the Phoenix Cardinals and playing primarily as a punter, Tupa went on to achieve the highest individual and team success. Tupa was named to the NFL All-Pro team in 1999 and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002.

Tupa finished his NFL career with 873 punts for 43.4-yard average while passing for 3,430 yards and 12 scores.