Three-year starter Stanley set to suit up for final Kinnick game

After three years of Nate Stanley being Iowa’s quarterback, his final game in Kinnick Stadium is approaching.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley carries the ball during a football game between Iowa and Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers, 23-19. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Anna Kayser, Sports Editor

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley has started in 36 consecutive games for Iowa. Now, the Kinnick Stadium piece of his collegiate career is coming to close.

In the past three years, Stanley has thrown for 7,615 yards with a 58.6 completion percentage and 66 touchdowns to date.

“Time’s really flown by,” Stanley said. “It seems like yesterday I got on campus for the first day and was just trying not to get yelled at. Now, it’s the week leading into my last game in Kinnick. It’s extremely special.”

He hasn’t missed a game since taking over for former quarterback and current San Francisco 49er C.J. Beathard, and this year, he’s both delivered hard hits to defenders and taken them.

Through his 20-plus years of coaching and seeing his sons graduate from the program with injuries along the way, head coach Kirk Ferentz knows it’s something special for a player to go through a career without missing a game.

“The academic challenges, the ups and downs — we all experience disappointments, coaches, players, everybody does,” Ferentz said.

Throughout all the time that the coaches and players spend with each other, the bond formed is special.

Multiple seniors that go through Iowa’s program realize that, and it helps them move onto careers in the NFL or past their playing days.

“I’m really happy to play for a program like Iowa that’s had historic success and a coach like coach Ferentz,” tight end Nate Wieting said. “There’s no one better in the business.”

The losses of a respected program sometimes fall on the seniors’ shoulders, but, this year, it’s been mostly on Stanley’s. Along with the physical toll, the outside world takes a mental one, as well.

“There are a lot of tough days,” Ferentz said. “So when you see those things, your respect for these young people, and then it’s a whole different world now. The expectation is on their shoulders, and we always encourage them just to block that out.”

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Throughout the years, Stanley has grown into a full captain of the offense.

He reads the defense, knows where his receivers are, and isn’t afraid to run for the first down if he has to.

“[He’s] a very tremendous leader — he’s led all three years that he’s been under center and take advantage of everything that’s been given to him,” wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette said. “His growth is being a spokesman for us, leading us, communicating with us, and talking to us, taking us through what he wants. It’s been great. Happy to be out there with him his last game, trying to send him out with a ‘W.’”

Having that type of stability for an offense is important, and it’s something that Smith-Marsette has benefitted from after beginning his career when Stanley took over as the starting quarterback.

Despite the losses and the somewhat average seasons for Iowa football, Stanley ranks second-all time in passing touchdowns behind only Chuck Long, a feat that he’ll try to beat as the end of the season rolls around.

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