Tough choice to name Iowa’s best QB under Kirk Ferentz
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Here’s a tough poll question: Who is the best Iowa QB to play for Kirk Ferentz (so far)?
— Land of 10 Iowa (@Landof10Iowa) June 6, 2018
ANSWER: When comparing Iowa’s four best quarterbacks under Kirk Ferentz, one could make a reasonable argument for any of them.
In 2002, Brad Banks finished second in Heisman Trophy voting while leading the Hawkeyes to an 8-0 league record and a co-Big Ten title. Two years later, Drew Tate was a first-team all-Big Ten quarterback and also led Iowa to a co-Big Ten title — with the offense down to a fifth-team running back. Ricky Stanzi paced the Hawkeyes to three straight bowl wins. No quarterback with more than 20 victories has a higher winning percentage than C.J. Beathard.
In an interesting fan poll, Banks collected 43 percent of all votes to win. Stanzi surged to place second, while Tate and Beathard finished third and fourth, respectively.
Banks’ stellar senior season coincided with Ferentz’s best team in his 19 seasons at Iowa. The Hawkeyes were ranked as high as third entering bowl play and earned an Orange Bowl appearance. Iowa finished eighth in both polls and 11-2 overall.
In that season, Banks completed a Big Ten-leading 26 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions. He threw for 2,573 yards, and his passer efficiency rating of 157.1 was the best in the NCAA. Banks finished second in Heisman Trophy balloting behind USC quarterback Carson Palmer. Banks won the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football as the league’s best player and was named the Associated Press National Player of the Year. He claimed the Davey O’Brien Award as the nation’s best quarterback and was second in the Maxwell Trophy balloting.
Stanzi is the only quarterback in Iowa history to win all three bowl starts. He won the starting job midway through the 2008 season and directed the Hawkeyes to a 9-4 record. In 2009, Stanzi guided the Hawkeyes to an 11-2 record, its first major bowl victory since the 1959 Rose Bowl and a No. 7 national ranking. In his senior year, Iowa finished 8-5.
Tate threw for 2,786 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2004. He was asked to compensate for the running game’s woes, and he delivered. Iowa beat Penn State and Ohio State early that year, then Tate threw 3 touchdown passes to bury rival Wisconsin 30-7 in a winner-take-all Big Ten title game. He then crafted the greatest play in Iowa history with a 56-yard touchdown pass on the game’s final play to beat LSU 30-25 in the Capital One Bowl. Tate’s 8,292 passing yards rank second in Iowa history, as do his 61 touchdown passes.
Beathard won 21 of his 28 starts, including his first 13. As a junior in 2015, Beathard led Iowa to a 12-0 regular season, a Big Ten West Division title and a No. 4 national ranking. Beathard finished his career ranked sixth all-time at Iowa in touchdown passes (40) and total offense (5,991) and eighth in passing yards (5,562). Despite his tremendous statistics, Beathard is remembered more for the toughness with which he played.
Read more Question of the Day answers about the Iowa Hawkeyes here.