Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is asked about a 2015 memory and his assessment of the 2018 Hawkeyes after a 5-1 start. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central
Nate Stanley is big and strong.
Nate Stanley being big and strong can sometimes result in eye-popping touchdown plays.
Saturday's second-quarter beauty at Indiana was just another example of the 6-foot-4, 242-pound junior Iowa quarterback showing his strength and potential. He was fantastic in the Hawkeyes' win over Indiana.
Iowa had a first-and-10 at the Indiana 12-yard line with 10 minutes, 13 seconds to play in the first half, leading 14-10.
Stanley received a shotgun snap before facing quick pressure on an outside blitz by Indiana sophomore linebacker Marcelino Ball. Stanley ran to his left to try to elude the rush, but Ball (no slouch at 6-foot, 222 pounds himself) had both arms around Stanley's trunk at the 30.
That's where the fun begins.
Doing his best imitation of surefire hall-of-fame Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Stanley shrugged off the pressure before sprinting back to his right near the Indiana sideline.
About four yards from being out-of-bounds, Stanley zipped a pass from the 26-yard line to a wide-open Nick Easley in the back corner of the end zone. Easley cradled the ball on his knees for Stanley's third touchdown pass of the half.
By my count, the throw took just 1.8 seconds to travel those 34 or so yards. That's impressive, folks.
And it'll quickly make you forget about his elementary-school interception on the drive before that temporarily put Indiana back in the game.
Three quick subplot points on this stellar play:
- Thank goodness Brandon Smith got a late jump on Stanley's heroics. The springy wide receiver leaped into the air, potentially thinking the pass was for him. But Stanley's laser was too high for Smith's outstretched right hand.
- Several minutes afterward, ESPN showed Ball's reaction to missing out on the big sack. Step 1: Removal of mouthpiece. Step 2A: Throwing of gloves and other arm equipment. Step 2B: Much yelling and screaming.
- The play also reminded me of one of Stanley's more memorable efforts in last year's pasting of Ohio State, when he threw one of his five touchdown passes with a Buckeyes defender draped around his leg.