Peyton Bender will play his redshirt sophomore season at Itawamba Community College, in Fulton, Miss., the Spokesman-Review reported Wednesday.

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Peyton Bender will play his redshirt sophomore season at Itawamba Community College, in Fulton, Miss., the Spokesman-Review reported Wednesday.

Bender was Washington State starting quarterback Luke Falk’s primary backup in 2015. He started in lieu of an injured Falk in the Cougars’ Apple Cup defeat to Washington, and finished the season with 498 passing yards, and a 63.7 completion percentage.

Last month, Bender was declared academically ineligible to play at WSU this season, and according to the Spokesman-Review, the coaching staff initially wanted him to play at a junior college in California to stay sharp, while trying to get his grades up.

“He could have stayed. (WSU coach Mike) Leach wanted him to stay, but he would have been ineligible. He could have practiced and dressed with the team. He didn’t fail out of school,” the quarterback’s father, Mike Bender, told the Spokesman-Review.

But Bender, whose parents live in Georgia, opted to move closer to home and play at a junior college in Mississippi. Bender still has the option to return to WSU in January.

In his absence, redshirt freshman Tyler Hilinski will likely become Falk’s primary backup, with newcomer Anthony Gordon, who transferred from the City College of San Francisco, vying with Justus Rogers ¬†for the third string job.