Iowa Football: Is Hawkeyes QB Ricky Stanzi the Best in College Football?
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The Iowa Hawkeyes have had two disappointing losses this season against Arizona and Wisconsin.
In both games, the Hawkeyes were unable to convert a final drive into the needed points.
If the Hawks don't get the outside help they need, a season that once appeared to be the best in the school's history, could turn into a huge disappointment.
Despite the two losses, the Hawkeyes are better than their 6-2 record indicates. They are fresh off of their blowout over Michigan State, who came into Iowa City as one of the only undefeated left in college ball.
Michigan State was over matched from the beginning, and Iowa finally put together the type of win that fans had been expecting all season long. It was a complete team effort: The offense scored virtually every time they had the ball; the defense was forcing turnovers and not allowing the Spartains across the 50; the special teams were setting Iowa up with great field position on both sides.
Ricky Stanzi, a senior from Mentor, Ohio who had mixed reviews following his junior campaign, has developed into a quarterback the team lives and dies under.
Stanzi took over the starting job from Jake Christiensen when he was a sophomore (thank goodness), and until the end of his junior year had been on a roller coaster ride. At times, Stanzi would look like the best quarterback in Iowa history, and others, he would look like a guy whose scholarship should be revoked.
Stanzi has grown, both literally and figuratively, in his senior campaign.
Now standing at 6'4" and a whopping 230 pounds, Stanzi has the look of a legitimate NFL quarterback. His increased muscle mass has improved the velocity on his throws, catching the eye of pro scouts.
What's even more impressive is Stanzi's turnaround from 2009 to 2010. Last year, the quarterback threw 304 times and completed just 56.3 percent of his passes. This year, he's completing over 12 percent more of his throws, with a rate of 68.5 percent.
Add in the fact that Stanzi's 180.28 efficiency rating currently ranks second in FBS, and it's clear what drives this Iowa team. His touchdown to interception ratio is off the charts. He's already eclipsed his career high with 19 touchdowns this season compared to only two interceptions.
As much heat as he takes for getting sacked, the fact that he's putting up those type of efficiency figures with an inexperienced offensive line (which is nowhere near as talented as the one last year), is staggering.
Stanzi hasn't put up insane numbers, so he's not getting much Heisman love, but he's definitely been one of, if not the best, quarterback in college football to date. He's been accurate and the Iowa passing attack has never been more potent.
Stanzi has thrown three touchdown passes in five of Iowa's eight games, and nine in the last three games overall.
The Hawkeyes will ride Stanzi's arm all the way to their bowl game. Which bowl they will be playing in still remains to be seen, but if the Hawkeyes continue to play the way they did against Michigan State, not only will they not lose another game this year, I think they will easily win the Big Ten.
The Hawkeyes control their own destiny. If Stanzi can keep up his high level of play, they will be smelling roses come January.
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