Tyson Bagent #17 of the Chicago Bears
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DII Product Tyson Bagent Starts, Has Chicago Bears Rolling

If you hadn't heard of Tyson Bagent before today, you might not be alone. After all, before getting the nod under center for the Chicago Bears against the Las Vegas Raiders, Bagent's most recent start came in college ... against an opponent many football fans probably haven't heard of either.

But now, Bagent is quickly grabbing the attention of football fans across the country, as he led the Bears to 14-3 halftime lead. Bagent is the first Division-II quarterback to start an NFL game since 2010. He began his first-ever NFL start by completing 14 of 19 passes for 104 yards, and rushing twice for 12 yards. Bagent is utilizing his top targets, DJ Moore and Darnell Mooney, finding Chicago's top two receivers for a combined 10 receptions and 69 yards.

In the third quarter, Bagent tacked on a touchdown pass and is 20-27 for 148 yards through the air. Chicago (1-5) is stunning Las Vegas, 21-3, in search of their second win of the season.

In his final college game, Bagent threw two interceptions while quarterbacking Shepherd, one of the top Division II programs in the country. Throughout this five-year collegiate career, Bagent went to the national semifinals twice, winning the Harlon Hill - DII's Heisman Trophy - in 2021. When he left Shepherd, Bagent held the NCAA record for all-time touchdown passes with 159, and the Division II record for career passing yards (17,034) and total touchdowns (171). He went undrafted in the 2023 draft and signed with the Bears. He won the QB2 job in Chicago over veterans Nathan Peterman and PJ Walker and was thrust into action when Justin Fields went down with an injury last week.

Bagent has looked poised throughout the afternoon, and a strong Chicago rushing attack is helping ease him into NFL action, with D'Onta Foreman rushing for two first-half touchdowns. Foreman also caught Bagent's touchdown pass in the third quarter. Bagent is comfortably out-dueling longtime NFL backup Brian Hoyer, who is starting in place of Jimmy Garropolo.

Bagent entered the season as just one of 43 Division II alumni on an NFL roster, and the only quarterback. He's the fourth DII gunslinger to start an NFL game in the last 20 years, but he's hoping to give Chicago their second win of the season.

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