Former Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi named honorary captain for Penn State game

Danny Lawhon
Hawk Central

Iowa is in need to break a miniature curse Penn State has on the Hawkeyes' football program.

Who better, then, to bring in than one of Kirk Ferentz's most reliable Nittany Lions tamers? 

Former Hawkeyes quarterback Ricky Stanzi will serve as honorary captain when No. 18 Iowa hosts ninth-ranked Penn State (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten Conference) at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday night.

Stanzi will accompany the Iowa captains to midfield for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the 6:44 p.m. game televised on ABC.

Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi drops back to pass in the first quarter of the Hawkeyes' game against Michigan State on Oct. 30, 2010 in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-1) could use the pick-me-up. Not only is Iowa licking its wounds after last Saturday's 10-3 loss at Michigan, it has lost five consecutive games to the Nittany Lions. The past two have come in particularly painful fashion, losing in 2017 at Kinnick at night on the game's final play and in a rain-soaked, one-score setback last season.

Iowa's last victory against Penn State was a 24-3 triumph in October 2010, and yep-you-guessed-it was under center. (That's Stanzi, by the way.)

Stanzi was a three-year letterman for Iowa from 2008-10, and he went 3-0 against Penn State over the course of his 35 starts. He famously led the Hawkeyes to a 24-23 upset over the then-No. 3 Nittany Lions on Nov. 8, 2008, when Daniel Murray kicked a 31-yard field goal in the final seconds.


He posted a 26-9 record overall as Iowa’s starting quarterback, including a 10-1 record in 2009 that included a 9-0 start. Stanzi was injured in the first half of a loss to Northwestern and missed the final two games of the regular season before returning to guide the Hawkeyes' 2010 Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech.

Stanzi is the only Iowa quarterback (and just third Big Ten quarterback) to lead his team to three bowl wins, a feat current quarterback Nate Stanley will likely have a chance to match this season.

Stanzi ranks third in program history in career passing yards (7,377) and total offense (7,373) and is fourth in touchdown passes (56), having recently been passed by Stanley. 

Stanzi was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft and was in the NFL for five seasons.