The recent version of Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz is more of a risk taker, and he’s been effective so far with Nate Stanley leading the offense.
I try, and I believe we all try, to not let one play or two plays cloud our judgment of players or teams, but last season made it really difficult when the Iowa football team lost four heartbreaking games by a dozen points total. It was the difference between an incredible season and a solid 9-4 season.
The reason why I say that is because in those close games, there were a few key 3rd and 4th down conversion that the Iowa football team couldn’t get. To be fair, again, they did get those throughout those games, just not in the last few seconds.
Yet, when I look at the stats, the Iowa football team was pretty darn good at converting on 3rd and 4th downs, which may even be part of the reason why Kirk Ferentz continued to risk it for the biscuit in 2018.
According to ESPN, the Iowa football team’s 4th down conversion percentage was 13th in the nation at 68%, and out of the teams ranked higher, only three had more attempts.
It’s a similar story when looking at 3rd downs. The Iowa football team ranked 29th in the nation in 3rd down conversion percentage, and only eight teams ranked higher had more attempts.
According to Pro Football Focus, a big reason the Iowa football team is so good on 3rd and 4th down is because their third-year starting quarterback Nate Stanley is so good on 3rd and 4th down.
According to PFF, Stanley posted a grade of 81.3 (they’re out of 100) when throwing on 3rd and 4th down, which is pretty impressive.
Heading into his senior season, there is a lot to like about Stanley, especially if you love the advanced analytics of PFF, but this is the one that gives me the most excitement.
The Iowa football team is not typically blowing out opponents so they need people who can perform in the clutch and make those key plays. It’s a good thing one of those guys is their starting quarterback.