|If Iowa had a “Quarterback situation” prior to Saturday’s game against Florida International, it progressed into a full blown “controversy” by Saturday afternoon. Ricky Stanzi started his first game as a Hawkeye, and last year’s starter Jake Christensen was delegated to back-up duty. Stanzi flourished in his starting role leading the Hawkeyes to two straight touchdowns on their first two drives. By the time Christensen came in as part of the planned rotation, the student section was booing, fans had made up their minds, and the quarterback controversy was underway.|
From a performance standpoint, it was pretty obvious that Stanzi had the better game on Saturday. Ricky finished the game with 162 yards passing on 8 of 10 passing and 3 touchdown throws. The Hawkeyes scored on their opening drive of the game, and then scored again on their second drive on a beautiful 59 yard touchdown pass from Stanzi to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. To be fair, Christensen had a solid game as well. Jake finished the game 8 for 12 with 99 yards and threw a 23 yard touchdown pass to Colin Sandeman in the 4th quarter, Iowa’s only score of the 2nd half. Stanzi did not play a down after half time and Christensen sat out after that 4th quarter touchdown as Marvin McNutt took over the Iowa offense.
So where do we go from here? As would be expected, quarterback play was the hottest topic after Iowa’s win in the parking lots around Kinnick and on all the radio call-in shows. Most fans are ready for one guy to be made the clear #1 quarterback, and that guy is Ricky Stanzi. After a great first half and that pretty touchdown pass to DJK as well as a 2nd quarter, 23-yard rainbow to tight end Brandon Myers in the endzone, most fans had seen enough. Coach Ferentz won’t say as much after the game explaining that both quarterbacks played well and the coaches would review game tape before making any further comments on the matter. The call-in shows were buzzing and one radio host made an interesting comment that left no doubts he feels this competition for the quarterback spot has been unfair.
The question remains to be seen how the QB position will be handled against Iowa State on Saturday. While the competition and shared snaps have been great against Maine and FIU, it is widely agreed that at some point early in this season the coaching staff needs to make a decision on one guy and go with it. Most expected prior to the season that a decision would be made after the first two games, and with in-state rival Iowa State coming to town on Saturday, the time is now to name a full-time starter. We found out after the FIU win that the decision to start Ricky was made on Wednesday, and it appears the coaches believe he has passed Christensen in the competition for the top-spot. After what Stanzi showed in the 1st half against FIU, it is hard to believe the coaching staff will change their mind by this Saturday. It also seems to say a lot that Stanzi was held out of action for the 2nd half and did not play a down after halftime. Perhaps the coaches had seen enough in the first half to cement their belief that it is now Ricky’s job to lose?
Hopefully we will all get more answers on Tuesday at Kirk Ferentz’s weekly press conference, but until then our vote goes to Ricky, whether Jon Miller likes it or not. But of course no matter what the coaches decide or who takes snaps against Iowa State on Saturday we ask that you cheer on the Hawkeyes, their quarterback(s) and please keep the boo-birds at home. Whether it is 1 fan or 2,000 students, booing college athletes is completely uncalled for and embarrassing for all fans.