Former Utah Utes and Utah State Aggies quarterback Jason Shelley will find himself in a familiar role on Saturday.
On Monday, the Springfield News-Leader’s Wyatt D. Wheeler reported that Missouri State Bears coach Bobby Petrino (yes, that Bobby Petrino) announced that Shelley will start at signal caller for the FCS team against the Big 12’s Oklahoma State Cowboys in the season opener.
Shelley, a Texas native, transferred to Missouri State late in July, Wheeler reported. That came on the heels of a tumultuous time at Utah State, which saw Shelley get kicked off the team four games into the 2020 season.
Shelley had transferred to Utah State from Utah prior to that season after transitioning from quarterback to safety, a move he was not too keen on making.
In two seasons at Utah (he redshirted in 2017), Shelley played in 19 games, starting five at quarterback at the end of the 2018 season when Tyler Huntley got hurt, including the Utes’ first Pac-12 title game.
At Utah, Shelley tallied 1,428 yards of total offense — 1,205 passing and 223 rushing — and went 3-2 as the starter.
Last season before being kicked out of the Aggie program by then-interim head coach Frank Maile, Shelley struggled, going just 51 of 99 for 420 yards and two touchdowns.
Wheeler reported Monday that despite being a late addition at Missouri State, Shelley beat out former starter Jaden Johnson and backup Jake Van Dyne for the starting job.
“He had a great camp,” Petrino said, according to Wheeler. “His consistency, his quick release and his ability to understand just a little more and his experience showed up throughout practices. He also showed the ability to adjust to the defense and get the ball out of his hand.”
Shelley is a senior this season.
The Bears finished 2020 with a 5-5 record in Petrino’s first season as head coach, the first time since 2007 that they reached the .500 mark.