Hawkeyes’ Stanley still searching for signature Big Ten road win

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Iowa quarterback is 0-4 against top 35 defensive teams

Nate Stanley is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play at Iowa. But why has the senior underperformed against good defenses on the road?

“That’s a good question,” Stanley said when asked.

Stanley is 0-4 against defenses that finished their seasons ranked inside the top 35 nationally.

The Hawkeyes have averaged less than 15 points per game in those losses, with Stanley completing under 45 percent of his passes.

“Obviously we’ve played in some tough games, you know, haven’t performed the way we wanted to,” Stanley said.

Stanley has a chance to change the narrative against Michigan’s 22nd-ranked defense. Kirk Ferentz says his quarterback’s maturity will be important in a tough environment.

“Having a veteran quarterback I think is certainly a plus,” Ferentz said. “It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it’s certainly a plus.”

The two worst performances of Stanley’s career came in losses at Wisconsin and Penn State. He says those experiences will be useful come Saturday.

“Obviously a lot of mistakes made in those games, but you can’t dwell on them,” Stanley said. “I think maybe through the course of the game let some throws that I made earlier in the game affect how I was playing later in the game.”

And it’s that forward thinking that could lead to success in front of 110,000 fans at the Big House.

“Just having a mental mindset or a mental gameplan on how to handle adverse situations, especially when the crowd is that big of a factor,” Stanley said.

“If your quarterback plays well at home or away, it’s a good thing, and the way we’re wired, that’s certainly a good thing, too,” Ferentz said. “Nate is a veteran guy. That experience I think certainly helped him on the road last time out. That was a really tough environment.”

If history is any indication, Stanley and the passing game will need to be prolific in Ann Arbor. The Hawks passed for at least 220 yards and three touchdowns in the two victories at Michigan Stadium under Ferentz.

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