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Famous Idaho Potato Bowl 2013 - Get to Know Buffalo Quarterback Joe Licata

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

When taking over Buffalo, the first hurdle encountered by Jeff Quinn was the premature departure of Zach Maynard. The Buffalo starter was both upset with the departure of Turner Gill and excited at the prospect of playing with his brother, Keenan Allen. So Allen switched his commitment from Alabama to Cal, who agreed to offer Zach a scholly, and his big brother Zach followed suit.

For the next three and a half seasons Buffalo's starting quarterback job was a revolving door of new faces. In 2010 it went from Jerry Davis, to Alex Dennison, to Alex Zordich and then after a Zordich injury back to Jerry Davis. The lack of a clear starter that season was one of many problems plaguing the Buffalo offense.

The following year Chazz Anderson, one of Jeff Quinn's Cincinnati recruits, transferred to Buffalo as a graduate student and he immeadiately took the reigns. He started all season while Alex Zordich played a few downs here or there but even the mobile Anderson could not lift the UB offense. With his one year used up Buffalo went into 2012 with Alex Zordich back behind center.

Behind the junior Zordich was freshman Joe Licata.

Licata was a local prep standout who owns most of Western New York's passing records. At Williamsville South he played well enough to earn an offer from Syracuse. The Orange rescinded the Offer when Licata said he needed time to consider his options. That turn of events led to Quinn pulling one of the best recruits that Upstate New York had to offer.  Buffalo had recruited their quarterback of the future.

But the future looks a lot like the past.

Unlike Maynard, Davis, Dennison, Zordich, or Anderson nobody ever boasts about how dynamic and athletic the Buffalo Sophomore is, nobody could ever call Licata a "Dual threat". To Buffalo fans Licata looks a lot like the last UB Quarterback to lead the team to success. Licata plays like Drew Willy, UB's then-signal caller who helped the school win the MAC Championship 2008.

After red shirting in 2011 he was Zordich's backup in 2012. Then when Zordich was knocked out for the season against Toledo the guy who played high school ball a few miles from UB Stadium got his chance. Licata did not disappoint. UB won three of their last four games, lifting them to a 4-8 mark, and carrying the momentum carried into 2013.

Licata has put his name in the top ten of many UB passing categories this season. He has done this by mainly knowing his role in the Buffalo offense, which is to hand the ball to Branden Oliver enough times to pull defenses in before he starts using the receivers. Licata's arm strength on short range passes in impressive and on the long balls he has had a lot of help from Alex Neutz, Buffalo's leading receiver.

Despite Licata's youth there should be an urgency to this game. The most potent weapons at his disposal are both graduating and Buffalo is taking a big hit on the other side of the ball. 2014 is shaping up to be a rebuilding year so Licata may need to strike now to help UB get their first ever bowl win

@Ohio State L 40-20 19 32 185 59.4 25 2 1 122.3
@Baylor L 70-13 10 16 214 62.5 62 1 1 183
Stony Brook W 26-23 (5OT) 27 47 193 57.4 19 1 1 94.7
Connecticut W 41-12 10 19 177 52.6 54 3 1 172.5
Eastern Michigan W 42-14 15 22 224 68.2 40 1 0 168.7
@Western Michigan W 33-0 11 21 124 52.4 31 3 0 149.1
Massachusetts W 32-3 18 27 167 66.7 24 1 0 130.8
@Kent State W 41-21 20 31 285 64.5 49 2 0 163
Ohio W 30-3 13 22 169 59.1 26 2 1 144.5
@Toledo L 51-41 36 58 497 62.1 47 4 0 156.8
@Miami (OH) W 44-7 20 32 172 62.5 37 1 1 111.7
Bowling Green L 24-7 21 45 221 46.7 30 0 1 83.5
220 372 2628 59.1 62 21 7