116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Last week, sophomore Nate Stanley had some 'Bambi' legs. He looked just a little bit wobbly out there.
'You probably didn't notice, he looked a little tight at times,' Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said as a slightly sarcastic lead in to his real point. '... For him to play the way he did in this environment, I think that just says a lot.'
Here's what the numbers say: Stanley completed 27 of 41 for 333 yards and five TDs. Here's where those numbers sit: Stanley is the first Iowa quarterback with 300-plus passing yards and five-plus touchdown passes in a game since Chuck Hartlieb vs. Northwestern in 1987.
And he missed what probably would've been four long TD passes on overthrows. He missed those at Jack Trice Stadium, making the 10-point lead ISU forged early in the fourth quarter look unbeatable.
Until Stanley beat it, hitting running back Akrum Wadley for a 46-yard TD (this one was 98 percent Wadley) and hitting wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette for a 5-yard TD and the victory in overtime.
'If you've ever really been around, he's just very calm,' center James Daniels said. 'I've never really seen him show emotion. He gets in the huddle, says the play, 'C'mon guys, let's go, let's go.' He's just very calm. How calm and composed he can stay is a really good trait.'
Senior guard/tackle Sean Welsh sees robot out there. OK, that needs some explanation. Welsh didn't call Stanley a robot.
'What he does a great job of is he's just robotic in his approach, his operation,' Welsh said. 'He could throw a pick and it wouldn't affect the next series. He's always thinking about the next play.'
Stanley led the Hawkeyes to 17 points in the fourth quarter with 8 of 14 for 133 yards and two TDs.
'I take that as a compliment, for sure,' Stanley said about Welsh's 'robotic' comment. 'Just having his trust fuels all the confidence in the world for me.'
Stanley had his misses. He overthrew tight end Noah Fant twice for what likely would've been TDs and then missed him after defensive end Parker Hesse picked off a pass and gave Iowa a first down at ISU's 5 in the fourth quarter. He also missed Smith-Marsette for another.
'I didn't say anything about those, I guarantee it,' Ferentz said. 'I was just quietly and silently hoping that wasn't going to come back and haunt us. We had a couple opportunities we couldn't hit. That's practice. We have to get that stuff done in practice. We're not quite there yet. It's kind of representative of our whole football team.'
'It's obviously difficult,' Stanley said about flushing those plays. 'You don't really have much time to think about it and dwell on it. Just coach (Ken) O'Keefe on the sideline, just talked about it for 10 or 15 seconds and it was on to the next play.'
In a day of Iowa quarterback stats in which the name 'Hartlieb' was invoked, how about this one? Stanley is only the second Big Ten quarterback in the last 20 years with 300-plus pass yards, five-plus TDs and no interceptions in a road game.
'His growth from last week to this week, not that we're done yet, obviously, but he did a lot of good things,' Ferentz said. 'The biggest thing is he looked steady out there. Just sitting on the bench, he looked steady and he was right there with the game. That was really good to see.'
In other words, the exact opposite of Bambi legs.
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