Wine Online: Talking (Opposing) Quarterbacks - Hawkeye Sports Official Athletic Site
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Wine Online: Talking (Opposing) Quarterbacks
Former UI staffer impressed by Northern Iowa, Arkansas State field generals
George Wine writes about quarterbacks this week...but the focus isn't Iowa's Ricky Stanzi.
George Wine writes about quarterbacks this week...but the focus isn't Iowa's Ricky Stanzi.
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Oct. 4, 2009

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    IOWA CITY, Iowa - My son Steve is a sports writer in Miami who makes his living at this time of year writing about the National Football League. But he finds time to follow the University of Iowa, his alma mater, and he has this observation five games into the football season: The two best quarterbacks the Hawkeyes have faced have played for teams from the Missouri Valley and Sun Belt Conferences. They have not played for teams in the Big 12, the Pac-10 and the Big Ten, the so-called power conferences.

    Is it possible that Northern Iowa and Arkansas State have better quarterbacks than Iowa State, Arizona and Penn State? They do if judged on how they played against the Hawkeyes. In fact, the comparison isn't even close.

    When Pat Grace of UNI and Corey Leonard of Arkansas State played at Kinnick Stadium they combined for 486 yards passing, three touchdowns and only one interception. They completed 58 percent (45 of 78) of their passes.

    Grace led UNI on a long touchdown drive, then orchestrated a two-minute drill that gave the Panthers a chance to win with a field goal. Leonard led Arkansas State on TD drives of 89 and 68 yards.

    Because of sterling performances by two terrific quarterbacks, Iowa had to block field goals on consecutive plays to beat UNI 17-16. Against Arkansas State the Hawkeyes sealed a 24-21 victory by fielding an onside kick.





    Is it possible that Northern Iowa and Arkansas State have better quarterbacks than Iowa State, Arizona and Penn State? They do if judged on how they played against the Hawkeyes. In fact, the comparison isn't even close.



    The quarterbacks for Iowa State, Arizona and Penn State (whose QB is all-Big Ten Daryll Clark) were not nearly as impressive against the Hawkeyes. In fact, the first two opponents gave up on their starters and went to a second-string QB.

    Here are the combined stats of the five quarterbacks Iowa faced in those three games: 416 yards passing, two touchdowns and nine (yes, NINE!) interceptions. They completed only 39 percent of their passes (35 of 89).

    Some might argue that because Iowa was heavily favored to beat UNI and Arkansas State, its performance against those teams was less than sterling due to insufficient motivation. If so, credit two good quarterbacks for seizing the opportunity and nearly leading their teams to mammoth upsets.

    On Saturday night at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa will face a young quarterback who has received considerable national attention. Tate Forcier, in his first year at Michigan, led the Wolverines to four straight wins and into the Top 25. This game looked like a battle of undefeated teams before Michigan lost in overtime at Michigan State last Saturday.

    Forcier's statistics are not stunning, but he has demonstrated remarkable leadership as a first-year freshmen. He sparked the Wolverines to last-minute victories over Notre Dame and Indiana, and threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes at Michigan State that forced overtime.

    Michigan compliments Forcier's passing with a running game that has featured big plays, and will pose a double-edge threat to an Iowa defense that is among the league's best.

    The Hawkeyes have some very good players on a defensive unit that has not given up a rushing touchdown in 33 quarters. One is linebacker Pat Angerer, who says, "It's our job to go on the field and put out the fire."

    Expect Forcier and his Michigan teammates to light a lot of fires in trying to end Iowa's nine-game winning streak.

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