Blog Entry

Stanzi's return makes offense go

Posted on: January 6, 2010 1:18 am
Edited on: January 6, 2010 8:06 am

It's amazing to think what could have been for the Hawkeyes.

While Iowa was celebrating another dominating defensive performance in the win over Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl, one couldn't help but wonder if Iowa would be proclaiming a share of the national title if quarterback Ricky Stanzi never got hurt.

The junior injured his ankle in the first half against Northwestern and missed the final two games of the regular season. Iowa ended up losing to the Wildcats 17-10 after leading 10-0 in the first quarter and dropped a heartbreaker to Ohio State in overtime.

Ricky Stanzi throws two touchdowns in the Orange Bowl.If Stanzi was in the lineup, Iowa might have beaten both those teams, won the Big Ten, played in the Rose Bowl and had an undefeated season.

"That's not something we are worried about right now," said Stanzi. "We wanted to win this game and we were able to do that."

But it didn't take an genius to see that Stanzi and the Iowa offense were a different team against Georgia Tech.

Stanzi led the team down the field with ease, throwing two touchdowns in the first quarter. The passing game opened up the running game, allowing Iowa to rush for 172 yards, including 113 by Brandon Wegher.

Without Stanzi, Iowa scored just 36 points in 12 quarters (including one overtime period) and beat lowly Minnesota 12-0 in the regular-season finale. It didn't have a 100-yard rusher in those three games and backup quarterback James Vandenberg completed only 48 percent of his passes with four interceptions.

Stanzi's return at the Orange Bowl gave the offense the jolt it needed to complement one of the best defenses in the nation.

"He's the guy you hate to miss, but if he's not there, you have to play without him," said wide receiver Marvin McNutt. "He's our leader and our Tom Brady. We want him out there."

Pretty high praise for a guy who still ended up with 14 interceptions this season. But that's the kind of respect the rest of the team has for their quarterback.

"He is such a good competitor, good leader and every time he is on the field he is going to do well," said linebacker Pat Angerer.

Iowa couldn't have asked for a better start with Stanzi opening the game 8-for-8 passing. Once the Hawkeyes put up 14 points, the defense knew their job just became a lot easier.

"It was huge," added linebacker A.J. Edds. "Especially with this kind of offense, we knew if we get them down a little bit and get them in a hole, it would give us a good chance."

Stanzi gave Iowa more than a good chance and with him healthy all season, the Hawkeyes would have had a better chance to post its first undefeated season since 1922.


Since: Jan 7, 2010
Posted on: January 7, 2010 4:45 pm

Stanzi's return makes offense go

Yup, imagine what things could have been like if Stanzi didn't sprain his ankle and Ndamakong Suh had blocked Texas' last second field goal.  One thing is for certain - The road to the 2010 Big Ten championship runs through Iowa City. Could that stop be on the road to the national championship as well?  Only time will tell.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2010 12:04 pm

Stanzi's return makes offense go

Darst - thanks for the story, can you tell Dodd and Doyel that they need to write a nice article whereby they take their foot out of their mouths and eat the crow for all the bad words on Iowa all year.  Those two clowns really need to be coached a bit and since from the look of this site, you are at least their dotted line boss, you can tell them that they really need to take time in 2010 to improve their writing and perspective.

I was so sick of Dodd especially ripping on the Hawkeyes all year.  Can you send him up to Iowa City for us so we can give him a proper welcome?  Doyel can carry his bags. 

Seriously, these two need a serious year end evaluation for all of the horrid writing they have done in 2009.

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: January 6, 2010 11:25 am

Stanzi's return makes offense go

Comments on J. Darin Darst's post.

You can't worry about what "Could have been" (alternative realities and outcomes).
Injuries can take their toll on any football program, at any time.

Ricky Stanzi's injury in the first half of the Northwestern game is just one of many 2009 football season turning events.

Sam Bradford re-injurying his right shoulder in the Red River Rivarly (Oklahome vs Texas) on October 17, 2009 not only changed the fortunes of Oklahoma season -- but gave Texas its opportunity to play in the BCS National Championship.

For the 2010 football season, it is apparent the too many players are leaving college football for the NFL money.
It has been RARE for any of these players to see significant playing time or win "Rookie of the Year"

The 2010 Big Ten season will be interesting with Ohio State, Iowa and Wisconsin returning many players and
Joe Paterno's reliability to place a competive Penn State team on the field every year.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or