Coach Jeff Quinn announced on his weekly radio show Thursday that Joe Licata will replace ailing Alex Zordich as UB’s starting quarterback Saturday against Miami.
Zordich came out of the last game, against Toledo, late in the third quarter with an unspecified injury. It’s believed to involve his ribs.
“He was hurt,” Quinn said. “We just feel he needs to relax a little bit. We need to get him healed up. He was hurt. That’s why he came out of the game. I didn’t pull him out of the game because of ineffective play or I wasn’t happy with Alex Zordich. He’s our quarterback. He’s our starting quarterback. But he was thinking of the team, that he wasn’t able to perform to the level he expects.
“... so this week we’re going to go with Joe as our starting quarterback.”
Zordich has completed just 51 percent of his passes — well below the national average — for 1,254 yards and nine TDs against seven interceptions. Four of those TD passes came in a 55-34 rout of FCS Morgan State on Sept. 8.
Licata, the former Williamsville South star, also threw a touchdown in the Morgan State game — on his first collegiate pass — but it’s been rough going since. He’s completed just 45.7 percent for two touchdowns and an interception. He was 5 of 11 for 86 yards and a TD against Toledo, with the scoring pass to Alex Neutz capping a 73-yard drive.
Zordich’s strength has been in the running game. He’s carried 100 times for 501 yards and UB’s use of the zone option with Zordich at QB has made it difficult to key on the team’s running back, typically Bo Oliver. Licata is far less of a running threat.
“Right before the end of the third quarter we did run Joe and he put his shoulder down, so Joe can run the ball,” Quinn said. “Whether Zordich runs a little bit better or Joe throws ... you know what, they’re both tremendous competitors.”
Quinn said Tony Daniel will be the primary backup Saturday with Zordich available on more of an emergency basis.