Stanzi Creeping into Heisman Discussion

Stanzi Creeping into Heisman Discussion

The numbers rank right there with the best in the country. The team is positioned to at least share a conference crown. And Ricky Stanzi might be the next Iowa QB to travel to New York for the Heisman ceremony.

IOWA CITY, Ia. - Ricky Stanzi avoided the question like it was a grenade. That was expected.

The Iowa quarterback takes little credit and pushes the team concept. Opinions about him being in the Heisman Trophy discussion go in one ear and out the other.

"No, I haven't heard it," Stanzi said. "I don't really have a reaction because there's a lot of football left. Just like at the beginning of the season when they put you on watch lists and you're asked about that, it doesn't have any outcome on the game. It's not going to help us get better as a team. It doesn't bare any weight.

"The only thing we're worried about as an offense is having a good day of practice (Tuesday), Wednesday and Thursday and hopefully come away with a win."

Stanzi heads into Saturday's game at Indiana riding high. He'll be trying to throw at least three touchdown passes in a game for a fourth week in a row.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz was less dismissive to the Stanzi-for-Heisman talk.

"I am not global," Ferentz said. "I don't know what else is out there, but he is playing at a pretty high rate. If he wants to go to New York, our team can help him by winning a lot more games. That is the first thing you have to do, play on a real good team. that goes hand in hand. If they were selecting today he would have to be in the discussion."

The senior from Mentor, Ohio ranks second in the nation behind Boise State's Kellen Moore in pass efficiency with a 180.28 rating. He matches up very well with the rest of the top players at his position nationally.

"I don't think he gets a lot of attention, maybe, because it's Iowa," Iowa Guard Julian Vandervelde said. "You pretty much have to be blowing everybody else away to get much national attention. The numbers that he's put up, what he means to the team, the time commitment, the improvement we've seen from last year to this year that we've seen, everything has come together to make Rick what he is now. That's a top tier quarterback and a Heisman contender."

Despite leading Iowa to a 9-0 start and a victory in the Orange Bowl last season, Stanzi's numbers suffered from his inconsistency. He finished with 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Four of the picks were returned for touchdowns.

One of Stanzi's two interceptions this season could have been avoided. It hit receiver Marvin McNutt in the hands, pads, popped in the air and was picked off.

Two Iowa Quarterbacks have finished second in the Heisman voting during Ferentz's time at Iowa. Chuck Long lost out to Bo Jackson in 1985 and Brad Banks was runner-up to Carson Palmer in 2002.

"The first two things I think about with Chuck is toughness, both mentally and physically and then his preparation," Ferentz said. "Those of the first two places I would start with Ricky, too. And leadership. There are a lot of similarities. Similar in stature as well. I am guessing we threw it more when Chuck was here. Chuck was one of the all time great leaders on the field and Ricky is doing a great job in that regard too."

Ferentz never has been one to promote players for awards until the season is over. That was the case with Banks.

"Probably somewhere in November," Ferentz said when asked when he felt Banks would be in the discussion. "We were not thinking about that, either. There is still a lot of football left to be played.

"As that team had success, the word got out more on Brad. My guess is if we finish strong, there will be more discussion about Ricky and if we tail off, there won't be. But he is playing at a high rate right now and that is good news."

Stanzi has a website and twitter account dedicated to his Heisman candidacy created by fans - www.stanzi4heisman.com and twitter.com/stanzi4heisman.

Sports Illustrated puts Stanzi at No. 8 in its most recent Heisman Watch. Two writers at CBS Sports rank the Iowa senior in their Top 5 this week. ESPN has him at seventh.

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