Sophomore Nate Stanley has the potential to be a great quarterback for the Iowa Hawkeyes and so far this season — his very first as Iowa’s starter — he’s flashed that potential at times.
There have been other times when his inexperience and youth have really stood out in his play, though, and those two factors were evident on Saturday afternoon against Michigan State.
Stanley, down in the red zone, had a fumble that was comical. In fact, it was almost an interception.
With Iowa down and needing to score in the red zone, Stanley found a bit of room near the line of scrimmage and took off running. Because he hadn’t passed the line of scrimmage but had successfully sucked MSU’s defense in, a passing lane had opened up for the sophomore quarterback and he looked to take advantage.
Unfortunately for Iowa, in the heat of the moment Stanley lost control of the football and instead of going forward, the football ended up going behind him and right into the arms of a Michigan State defender.
At the time it looked like an interception but because it happened behind the line of scrimmage the play was ultimately ruled a fumble. Iowa ended up losing the game, 17-10, and this fumble definitely played into the end result.
Iowa’s offense could never really get rolling, and Stanley never ended up finding the end zone as a passer.
He has thrown for 846 yards and 12 touchdowns for Iowa compared to just one interception in five games, and that’s the good news for the Hawkeyes. Considering his youth and inexperience he has been good, and he clearly has raw talent, but at times he has looked like a true sophomore starting one of his first games — and that was the case again against Michigan State.