Sept. 27, 2008
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IOWA CITY – Five turnovers usually buries college football teams. But, thanks in great measure to a sophomore quarterback making his first start against a Big Ten Conference opponent, the Iowa Hawkeyes almost rose above their own miscues Saturday against Northwestern in a game that the home team lost, 22-17.
UI quarterback Ricky Stanzi completed 21 of 30 for 238 yards and a touchdown that gave the Hawkeyes a 17-3 lead with 2:11 left in the first half. However, four of Stanzi’s incompletions came at the end of a 60-yard plus drive that stalled on the NU eight with just more than a minute left on the game clock inside a sold out Kinnick Stadium.
“I’d love to have a couple back. Patience…take what they give you…expect adversity because it always happens. That’s what coach tell us,” said Stanzi, who, barring injury during next week’s practices, will be Iowa’s starting quarterback next Saturday when Iowa travels to East Lansing, Mich., for a date with the Spartans of Michigan State.
“You expect tough times and coach prepares us for that,” he added. “We need to learn from this and bound back. We’ll respond. We never expect things to be easy.”
“We gave ourselves a chance to win it even after all the mistakes” said UI Coach Kirk Ferentz of the Hawkeyes’ drive – a drive that didn’t include running back Shonn Greene, who gained 159 yards on 21 carries but was sidelined after a brutal tackle early in the final stanza.
“If we continue to fight and continue to improve – and I’m confident we will – we have a chance to be a good football team. We have seven conference games left to play and I’m sure we’ll show up for each of them,” Ferentz offered.
Even with the botched exchange and an interception, Stanzi was impressive in his second start as a collegian. He distributed the ball to eight different receives – a group that was paced Andy Brodell and his eight catches for 126 yards – and looked confident and ready to lead.
“You don’t look for one guy, but you do take what they give you and look for the guy that seems to be getting open the most. Today, that was Andy,” Stanzi said when asked about Brodell’s bucketload of receptions
“If we continue to fight and continue to improve – and I’m confident we will – we have a chance to be a good football team. We have seven conference games left to play and I’m sure we’ll show up for each of them.”
In the end, though, a fumbled exchange, an interception, a fumble kickoff, a fumble punt and a fumble on a running play were just too much to overcome.
“I can’t remember being involved in a game with that number,” Ferentz said of the Hawkeye miscues.
“On the plus side, we responded. We responded last week when we dug ourselves a hole and did so again this week. You can build on effort and commitment like that.”