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How Does Banks Compare to the Chucks

How Does Banks Compare to the Chucks

10/21/2002 by Jon Miller of Hawkeye Nation


There has been a lot of talk about Iowa quarterback Brad Banks on the message boards and around news organizations across America. It has prompted me to stop and do some research to see just how special a season Banks is turning in.

And after spending some time ‘Inside the Numbers’, Banks is having one of the best seasons a quarterback has ever had at the University of Iowa and that success may also have some common denominators throughout Iowa football history.

As of right now, Brad Banks has 18 touchdown passes to just 4 interceptions. His efficiency rating is 159.9. In 1985, Chuck Long had an efficiency rating of 153.1. Hartlieb had a 156.7 efficiency rating in 1987.

Those two mid-80's seasons are the standards by which all Iowa quarterbacks have been measured. But is Banks raising the bar?

Let’s take a look!

1985: Long: 388-260-16 INT 27 TD's and 3,297 yards (.650 completion %)

1987: Hartlieb: 334-217-8 INT 19 TD's and 3,092 yards (.670 completion %)

2002: Banks: 201-119-4 INT 18 TD's for 1,797 yards (.592 completion %)

Now, the Chuck's slung the ball a lot more than Banks has. Long threw 32.3 passes per game in 1985 (12 games) while Hartlieb threw 25.7 passes per game in 1987 (13 games). Banks is averaging 22.3 passes per game in 2002.

Banks is averaging 8.9 yards per attempt; Hartlieb averaged 9.3 yards per attempt and Long averaged 8.5 yards per attempt.

Get a load of this next statistical comparison: Long threw a touchdown pass every 14.4 passes in '85, Hartlieb threw a touchdown pass ever 17.6 passes in '87. And Banks? He has thrown a touchdown pass every 11.2 passes through nine games in 2002! If he keeps that ratio up, I would suspect that would be close to at least a Big Ten or National Record for quarterbacks with more than 20 touchdown passes in a season.

Now, work with me for a second. Banks has played in nine games where Long played in 12 games and Hartlieb played in 13 games. Banks will be playing in 13 games and though projections are not guarantees, Banks is nearly three-quarters of the way through the year so the trends are there

If Banks keeps putting up the same numbers, he would project to finish the season: 290-171-6 INT and 26 touchdown passes for 2,595 yards.

Banks yardage total would be the most by any Iowa quarterback not named Chuck and his 26 touchdown passes would be one off the Iowa single season record held by Long in 1985. With two more TD passes, Banks becomes just the second Iowa quarterback to ever pass for 20 TD’s in one season. Long did it twice.

Again, projecting numbers is not scientific, but we are not projecting Banks’ stats after just a few games. Iowa has just three remaining Big Ten conference games.

So what do we know? We know that Chuck and Chuck threw the ball more than Banks has.

How did those teams fare on the ground?

Iowa rushed for 1,789 yards in 1987. Iowa rushed for 1,896 yards in 1985. In 2002, Iowa has already gained 1,925 yards on the ground in addition to the 1,925 yards they have gained through the air after nine games.

Banks is averaging 28.7 net yards rushing per game in 2002. Chuck Long averaged negative 10.4 net yards rushing per game and Chuck Hartlieb averaged negative 12.2 net yards rushing per game.

So what Banks is doing is even more remarkable considering that this Iowa team is balanced on offense.

The 2002 Hawkeye project to gain 5,561 total yards this year. The 1985 Hawkeyes gained 5,507 yards in 12 games and the 1987 Hawkeyes gained 5,585 yards in 13 games.

No matter how you slice it, the 2002 Hawkeyes will rank among the most prolific offenses in school history.

Each Quarterback Faced Adversity

In 1985, with a win over #2 Michigan already in the bag and an easy win against Northwestern coming a week later, Iowa went to Columbus, OH with the #1 ranking still intact. Chuck Long suffered possibly the worst game of his fine senior season as he was intercepted four times and threw for just 169 yards as Iowa lost the game 22-13. Also lost was a shot at the national title as well as Long’s Heisman campaign. He lost the Heisman Trophy to Bo Jackson of Auburn that year in what is still the closest ballot in the history of the Heisman.

In 1987, Hartileb began the season third on the depth charts behind Tom Poholsky and Dan McGwire, younger brother of Mark McGwire. Iowa was 9-1 in games that Hartlieb started and they won their last seven games, but Iowa opened the season against Tennessee in the Kickoff Classic. Hartlieb saw his option pitch intercepted by a Tennessee defender and he returned what was ruled a fumble 96-yards for at touchdown. Iowa lost 23-22.

In 2002, Brad Banks fumbled twice against Iowa State in the third quarter which resulted in two short field scoring drives for Iowa State as Iowa blew a 24-7 halftime lead and lost the game 36- 31.

Each Quarterback Rose to the Occasion

Long will forever be remembered as Iowa’s best quarterback and for leading the Hawkeyes on game winning drives against Michigan and Michigan State in 1985.

The 1985 win against #2 Michigan saw Iowa ranked #1 in the nation before and after the game. It has been and still is the high water mark in Iowa football history.

Hartlieb led the 1987 Hawkeyes to 10-3 record, including possibly the biggest road win in Iowa history when Iowa won at Ohio State on a last minute fourth and very long pass to Marv Cook for the deciding touchdown.

In 2002, Brad Banks has his ’85 Michigan and ‘87 Ohio State games already in the bag. The Hawkeyes have emerged from road games against Penn State and Michigan and the combined 219,000 screaming fans with two wins. Banks also led Iowa to a late comeback win against Purdue where he was the man on the entire drive with his legs and his arm

None of those quarterbacks gave up after facing the adversity and the Chuck’s led Iowa to 10 win seasons.

Iowa is 8-1 with four games to play in 2002. If they go .500 the rest of the way, they will get their 10 wins.

Brad Banks is etching his name into Iowa football lore and he provides the dual threat that neither Long nor Hartlieb could offer.

Banks steady precision and effectiveness does not always ‘wow’ you from week to week, but after he is gone, we might look back on this season in awe of the body of work the way baseball fans look at Cal Ripken Jr’s consecutive games played streak or the consistency with which Ted Williams hit for average each and ever year. Iowa fans have only four more games in which to enjoy their quarterback who is ‘quietly’ turning in one of the best performances ever by an Iowa signal caller, right under our noses.

Not coincidentally, this could be the best season in Iowa football history as well.

Hawkeye NationHawkeye Nation was founded by Jon Miller, and later acquired by Rivals and Sports Illustrated. You can visit them at

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How Does Banks Compare to the Chucks - Summary of Iowa football and basketball games