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Tuesday Morning QB: Stanzi on pace for Heisman-like season

[ 0 ] November 1, 2010 |

Twenty-nine touchdowns. Three interceptions. 2,883 yards. A passer rating of 180.28.

Those aren’t All-Big Ten numbers, folks. Those are Heisman Trophy-type numbers. And they’re the projected 2010 statistics for Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi — if he keeps up his current pace.

Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi, left, has completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 1,922 yards, 19 touchdowns and just two interceptions this season. (Christopher Gannon/The Register)

Ohio State’s Terrell Pryor entered the fall as the front-runner. Denard Robinson of Michigan was the media darling of September. But in a Big Ten Conference loaded with stud quarterbacks — we haven’t even mentioned Wisconsin’s Scott Tolzien, Northwestern’s Dan Persa, or Illinois’ Nathan Scheelhasse — as of the first week in November, Stanzi is having the best season of the bunch.

The senior added three more touchdowns against the Spartans last weekend to push his season total to 19. Chuck Long’s single-season record of 27 passing touchdowns, set in 1985, is well within striking distance.

Realistically, though, the Heisman is more of a long shot. And it’s a shame — Stanzi has the body of work to merit a push, but he lacks that “wow” signature Heisman “moment” that makes Dr. Lou and the other suits at ESPN sit up and take notice.

Losses to Arizona and Wisconsin weren’t his fault, but they don’t help, either.

At least there’s still a little time to make a case; a huge game against Buckeyes — and an Iowa victory on Nov. 20 — could propel the Ohio native into the national conversation, especially if the Hawkeyes win out.

Three questions with Jim Miller, former Bears quarterback and Michigan State alumnus

Q: You’ve seen plenty of good signal-callers — is this the best GROUP of Big Ten quarterbacks together in the league, at one time, in a single season?

A: Well, yeah. I like Scott Tolzien. I like Kirk Cousins and his decision-making. Obviously, down here, Ricky Stanzi’s having a nice senior year. So yeah, guys are emerging. Playmakers like Denard Robinson, and Terrelle Pryor seems to keep making steps forward, so I think, overall, this is a strong year for the Big Ten.

Q: What about team depth? The Big Ten might crank out as many as nine bowl-eligible squads, depending on which way the chips ultimately fall.

A: Oh, without a doubt. As far as quality, this is one of the better years the Big Ten has ever produced, without a doubt.

Q: As a Bears postgame analyst with Comcast SportsNet Chicago, was it a bit of a relief to get a week away from roller-coaster ride over at Halas Hall?

A: They should be 6-1 right now (instead of 4-3), but they just gave away two games. If they get anything together offensively at all, they’re going to be just fine. So after the bye week, they’re working out the kinks. I still think they’ve got a great shot in the NFC North and they’re going to be just fine.

One man’s ballot
Top three candidates, right now, for the Heisman Trophy:

1. Cam Newton, QB, Auburn: Not only does he toss touchdown passes — he catches them as well.

2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon: Shredded USC for 239 yards and three touchdowns.

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Toying with WAC defenses right now.

Set Your TiVo
Games you can’t miss on TV this week:

Baylor at Oklahoma State, Fox Sports Net, 11:30 a.m.
Surprising Bears haven’t won at Stillwater since 1939.

Texas Christian at Utah, CBS College Sports, 2:30 p.m.
Cyclone fans found out what Frogs fans already know — the Utes are nasty.

Arizona at Stanford, ABC regional, 7 p.m.
Last three meetings were decided by just seven points — combined.

The Hot Seat
Which Big Ten or Big 12 coach is under the most pressure right now?

The anti-Hawk drumbeats are getting louder by the day. Longtime Denver Post columnist Woody Paige suggested the coach fall on his sword and resign — and this was before Oklahoma rolled the Buffaloes, 43-10.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Sean Keeler: Sean Keeler has been a sports columnist at The Des Moines Register since 2002. Got a story tip, comment, complaint? E-mail him at skeeler@dmreg.com. You can follow him on twitter at twitter.com/seankeeler or on Facebook at facebook.com/smkeeler. View author profile.

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