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Archive for Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stanzi era to start for Iowa

September 10, 2008

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— Iowa has finally settled on a quarterback - and it's not the one most thought it would be in August.

Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed Tuesday that sophomore Ricky Stanzi has emerged as Iowa's starter. Stanzi, who won the job over last season's incumbent junior Jake Christensen, will get the nod on Saturday when the Hawkeyes (2-0) play host to rival Iowa State (2-0).

Stanzi started in last week's 41-0 win over FIU, but Christensen shared playing time.

Though Christensen put up decent numbers, Stanzi emerged as the clear leader after throwing for 162 yards and three touchdowns in less than a half of work.

"It's nice, it's exciting. It's a great opportunity, and I'm ready to go to work this week," Stanzi said.

Stanzi's ascent is somewhat remarkable, given that Christensen had been thought of as Iowa's quarterback of the future since setting foot on campus.

After red-shirting in 2006, Stanzi sat third on the depth chart and wasn't even in the picture to contend for the starting job last season.

Christensen was one of the nation's most highly touted players coming out of high school, and after spending his freshman year as Drew Tate's backup, he seemed like a lock to be a three-year starter.

Even since-departed Arvell Nelson was further along in his development than Stanzi last season and they came in with the same recruiting class.

But Christensen never could get the Iowa offense going in 2007.

Playing behind an inexperienced and often inept offensive line, Christensen completed just 53.5 percent of his passes as Iowa went 6-6 and missed out on a bowl bid.

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