Stanley proves he’s all-in for his team

Nate Stanley showed his physicality against Purdue on Oct. 19, proving that he’s 100 percent committed to doing whatever it takes.

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Stanley proves he’s all-in for his team

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley runs the ball during the Iowa football game against Purdue at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers 26-20.

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley runs the ball during the Iowa football game against Purdue at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers 26-20.

Katina Zentz

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley runs the ball during the Iowa football game against Purdue at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers 26-20.

Katina Zentz

Katina Zentz

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley runs the ball during the Iowa football game against Purdue at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Boilermakers 26-20.

Anna Kayser, Sports Editor

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It’s no secret that through his three years as Iowa’s starting quarterback, Nate Stanley has grown into the playmaker and leader that the Hawkeyes need at the helm. On Oct. 19 against Purdue, he took that to the next level.

Stanley was sacked nine times combined in the previous two weeks, but that didn’t stop him from being physical.

“It’s awesome to show a team that I’m not going to back down,” Stanley said. “He can hit me 100 times, but I’m going to continue to fight. I’m going to continue to do everything I can to help my teammates.”

Iowa’s running game had just 31 rushing yards in the first quarter against the Boilermakers, averaging 2.6 yards per carry. Purdue’s defense was stopping any big production from the Hawkeyes.

So, in the second quarter Stanley decided to take it himself. Facing a second-and-10 in his own territory, Stanley ran up the middle for nine yards and didn’t go down until he lowered his shoulder into two defenders.

“You just want to do everything you can and show that you’re invested 100 percent for your teammates and maybe show that, hey, there’s no quit in me, either,” Stanley said.

Iowa’s offensive line was all-in on Stanley’s moves.

“It was pretty awesome; it pumped us up,” offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs said. “I can’t remember which one it was. It was a power play, and he kept it and ran it, and he dropped his shoulder and hit this guy. It was pretty cool. Alaric Jackson was getting all excited, too. Stanley doesn’t do that very often, but when he does, it’s pretty exciting.”

Throwing in the read option is something that Iowa has shown more of this year than last, and Stanley taking the ball himself has been more common as well. He has 132 rushing yards on the season so far, compared with just 93 total last year.

In past weeks when he’s taken the ball, he’s used a feet-first slide to go down on his own terms. Against Purdue, he lowered his shoulder to hit defenders multiple times.

“I think it’s just knowing and having the mindset that you’re going to be a physical player out on the field,” Stanley said. “In certain situations, yeah, you want to try and take hits off yourself whether it be sliding, but sometimes you don’t have the option to do that.”

Stanley had another chance to get physical too, just not in the way Iowa would have wanted.

In the fourth quarter, a pass was tipped by Tyler Goodson and landed in the arms of a Boilermaker. He ran it back for 27 yards until he was taken down by Iowa’s very last line of defense: Stanley.

“That would have been huge had he not done that, but that was a good effort,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “That’s the way he’s wired. He’s going to give everything he’s got out there.”

Iowa’s offense still has things it needs to improve on, a note to the offensive line protection that hasn’t created holes for the running game to break open consistently. But with Stanley as a second option, the production has increased.

“It’s been a little bumpy; our protection hasn’t been a hundred percent,” Ferentz said. “I thought it was better [on Saturday]. Our rhythm isn’t where we want it to be right now. But [Stanley’s] pushing forward, he’s leading us, and bottom line is he got us another win, and I’m really happy about that.”

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