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Hello Jerry Mailbag: Nate Stanley’s Top-5 potential and the Most Clutch QB in Iowa History

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Hopefully you all were looking for the Trent Dilfer of Iowa QB play.

Wyoming v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Maybe I’m showing my age here, but mailbags and advice columns were part of the reason I wanted to write as a bright-eyed youth. I would spend more time than I care to disclose trying to make the cut and ever since I’ve dreamed about having my own little corner of the internet to communicate with my (our) readers and engage in the shenanigans we all go through as sports fans and people (sad, I know). So, from this Thursday forward, I give The Pants back to you... the people. Do you have questions, comments, concerns, theories or general stories of debauchery? Send them all! I will feature as many as my editors will allow. You can send them to me via Twitter (@JerryScherwin), add them in as comments to these columns (you should probably put “Hello Jerry” as your header so I know it’s not a question directed to SMA or something), via email (jerome.scherwinjr@gmail.com), the Facebook comments of these posts and any other way I may have forgotten about. Let’s get it on!

Question #1 from @JasonKV:

Hello Jerry: Jason, I’m not sure if you listened to this weeks The Pants Party but we touched on some of the CRAZY clutch stats Nate (remember, he’s only Nathan Stanley when he’s bad) has put out there through his first two starts. They’re absolutely B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Check em out (all stats via our friend, Marc Morehouse):

-In the red zone: 8 of 10 for 78 yards, 5 TDs, no picks, 4 thrown first downs, three passes of 15-plus yards and a 310.52 passer rating.

— In the second half/overtime: 21 of 35 for 304 yards, 4 TDs, no picks. 170.68 rating, 14 thrown first downs, seven 15-plus yard plays and three plays of 25-plus yards.

— Stanley when the Hawkeyes are losing by 8 to 14 points: 4 of 5 (80.0 percent) for 55 yards, 1 TD, 0 picks, 238.40 passer rating, three first downs thrown and two 15-plus passes.

— Stanley in the fourth quarter so far this year: 8 of 15 (53.3 percent) for 133 yards, 2 TDs, 0 picks, 171.81 rating and seven thrown first downs.

— Stanley has led three TD drives within the last two minutes before halftime (vs. Wyoming and Iowa State) and at the end of the game.

WHHHHHHAAAAAAA?

I was discussing Stanley with JPinIC on Wednesday and I came to the realization that between those first game jitters (and subsequent fumbles), the four (count ‘em, four) over throws for what should have been easy touchdowns against Iowa State, questioning my Brian Ferentz love (I’ll admit, I shuttered a bit against the Cyclones) and watching Akrum Wadley throw the team on his back, I missed the greatest two-game stretch for a first time starter in Iowa history.

I don’t know how I missed it, but I did and I’m honestly mad at myself for having to rewatch Saturday’s game so I could fully immerse myself in the gift that was Nate Stanley’s Big Ten co-offensive player of the week performance (27 of 41 for 333 yards and five touchdowns).

If you take away those aforementioned throws that would’ve made his day that much easier (Wadley’s too), Stanley was a damn revelation back there. Nine Hawkeyes had a reception (wave goodbye to the days of staring down the one guy that never seems to get open). On three of the Hawkeyes five touchdown scoring drives before overtime, Stanley drove Iowa over 90-yards down the field (on the other two scoring series, he drove an easy 76 and 89 yards respectively).

I’m not very good at research (nor does my day job allow deep dives into stats), but how many QB’s on that list could drive 75+ yards five times as a sophomore, come back from a ten point defect in the 4th quarter in their second start ever at Jack Trice Stadium against a hostile Iowa State team with an ornery head coach?

I’ll wait for your answer..

I can definitely tell you that its not Jake Christensen. In fact, I can’t even slot Stanley anywhere on this list with Christensen in the five hole. So, lemme help you out on what should be Iowa’s Top-5 QB list first:

  1. Chuck Long (duh)
  2. Brad Banks (duh)
  3. Ricky Stanzi (Murica)
  4. Drew Tate (It hurt me to put him at 4 but I’ll get into this in a bit)
  5. Casey J. Beathard (perfect season and a Rose Bowl appearance/Ultimate competitor)

.

.

.

.

150. Jake Christensen

Quick side note: I’d be interested in seeing James Vandeberg with this coaching staff (it’s basically the same staff — plus BF — that he had when Iowa went 7-6 his junior year (aka that time he still looked like an actual QB before GDGD ruined him), but he’s not in the same galaxy (unfortunately) as those five guys — or Chuck Hartlieb or Matt Rodgers for that matter.

Now, back to the question at hand: Can Nate Stanley crack that Top-5 list? After my rewatch, I honestly think he can. He’s got three years of play in front of him, a roster full of HOLY SHIT weapons that are his age or younger, a coordinator that is going to grow with him (don’t underestimate this) and a wide open Big Ten West. If he can get Iowa back to Indy at some point during his tenure, flirt with a playoff spot while pissing off the entire nation because of the “Iowa is a contender” hot takes, he can overtake Casey J. for fifth on that list and maybe even Drew Tate with a little luck.

Q: If you had every Hawkeye QB that ever played available and in their prime, who would you pick to lead the team on the final drive, down by 4?

— chuck longs mom

Hello Jerry: This is a fitting question I think after the 800-some words I just spent on Nate Stanley. The obvious answer is Brad Banks, you know, with him being the Heisman trophy runner up in 2002. But sometimes the most obvious answer isn’t the right one (I think that’s how that quote goes, right?).

To me this all comes down to three things:

  1. Who has that special “clutch” gene (You’re damn right I believe in it. I’ve watched way too many Larry Bird tapes, Michael Jordan playoff games and Derek Jeter at bats to think it doesn’t exist.)
  2. What quarterback did you always believe in — no matter how many points Iowa was down — to make the miraculous comeback?
  3. Who never let “the moment” get to him?

To me, the two QB’s that check those three boxes are Drew Tate and Ricky Stanzi.

I’m sure there are some of you that would take Tate and I initially thought I wanted to as well but when I looked deeper into it I saw that he was only 4-6 against ranked opponents (three of those wins coming in the 10-2 season that produced “The Catch”) and just 1-2 in bowl games (Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl and Alamo Bowl).

Stanzi on the other hand (once he replaced Christensen full time against Northwestern in 2008) compiled a 6-3 record against ranked opponents and was a perfect 3-0 in bowl games (Outback Bowl, Orange Bowl, Insight Bowl).

But it was that Orange Bowl season where Stanzi pushes himself up above Tate. From the early going, there was just something about his play that made me believe in my heart of hearts that Iowa was going to find a way to win. Even after he’d chuck up one of those early “Stanzi Balls," I still just assumed we were just a defensive turnover and a Rick Roll away from winning that game.

He had at least seven (maybe even eight?) comebacks in 2009 (before Corey Wooten ruined everything) including “7 Got 6”:

He had the 52-yard touchdown to Marvin McNutt with minutes left in the 4th quarter to sure up an ugly 18-13 win against Indiana in 2010.

He had a 3-0 record against Joe Paterno and his National Championship contending Nittany Lions.

And those are just a few off the top of my head. It never mattered how it was done, Stanzi just balled when it mattered most. Gimme the Americanzi.

Q: He’s been trying so hard to get in here...

Hello Jerry: PJ Fleck would chuck as much wood as PJ Fleck could chuck if PJ Fleck could chuck wood.

Q: What amount of But is in the ideal ButWad ratio?

— AlltheIowanamesaretaken

Hello Jerry: For two straight weeks, James Butler has had 10 carries while his running mate had 24 and 28 against Wyoming and Iowa State. To me, that is more ButWadle than ButWad. I think Kirk Ferentz knows this, which is why Wadley was taken off of kick returns. I also think that this current two game split is simply due to getting Butler up to speed with the offense and building trust among the coaching staff. If Iowa plans on having Wadley healthy for the remainder of the season (something that’s obviously on Ferentz mind, especially after the dig he threw Wadley’s way during his press conference), they’re going to have to get Butler 5-8 more carries a game — preferably near the goal line

Therefore, a 24-15 split would be the ideal ButWad ratio in my most humble opinion.

Q: How does the staff of BHGP keep all of the JPs and Jerrys straight? Everyone on the staff seems to have names that start with the letter J (well, there are some exceptions, but still, I’m convinced many of these "writers" may actually be the same person).

— MdHawkeye

Hello Jerry: This is a great question. There are way too many people with the letter “J” in their name at The Pants. Not only do we have two dudes name JP, we have me (Hello Jerry), Jordan Hansen, JTaylor89 and BenJaminRoss. I know that doesn’t really count, but I like pronouncing his name like that.

So to keep us all straight, here’s a few quick tips for you to follow:

  • If the post you’re reading has more than four total gifs OR is about recruiting, it’s easily JPinIC.
  • If the post you’re reading walks the line between worthwhile content and bat shit insanity, it’s probably Hello Jerry (Warning: If the piece does that but ALSO has four gifs in it, it could be a collabo with JPinIC and Hello Jerry... be careful).
  • If you’re reading something that might be pissing off other teams outside of Iowa and/or is labeled “B1G ________”, that’s J.P. Scott.
  • Diving into an Iowa Olympic sport? That’s your boy Jordan Hansen.
  • If you’re looking at the head of Nick Kroll with a blonde wig and/or reading a Mock Draft? That’s JTaylor89.
  • If the post is hovering right around 500-words or is about poor gambling habits, that’s BenJamin Ross.

I hope that helps. If not, you have my vote for a Blogger Hunger Games that forces one of the JP’s to change their name to Steve.

Thank you all for your questions. I’ll be back here next week, same time, same place. If you want to get a jump start on sending in your questions and thoughts, feel free to tweet me @JerryScherwin or use the hashtag #HelloJerry.