Nate Stanley and Adrian Martinez spent perhaps five minutes talking about Black Friday.
After that, the Iowa and Nebraska quarterbacks — both of whom were invited to the Manning Passing Academy this summer — got to know each other and become friends.
“I found him to be extremely personable,” Stanley said Friday. “Funny. Likable. Meeting him at the camp sparks a friendship, a relationship between us. He’s a great competitor on the field. We’re both good at realizing that, hey, we’re competitors but we can also be friends off the field, too. He’s a great guy.”
Martinez had the better individual stats in the head-to-head matchup, but Stanley’s Hawkeyes squeezed out a 31-28 win thanks to his key fourth-down conversion just before the winning field goal.
Stanley hit tight end T.J. Hockenson on a fourth-and-8 pass. It was a “special situation” play, Stanley said, that Iowa had practiced — but not used — all season. It was tailored specifically for the heavy blitz Nebraska used on the play.
The pressure left Hockenson in single coverage against NU safety Antonio Reed, who didn’t make the pass breakup.
“The last play of our last game, it comes up,” Stanley said. “And we were prepared for it. That was the coolest part of it. Everybody knew the situation we were in, and everybody knew the look we were getting defensively, and we were able to go out and execute.”
Before the play, Stanley said, there was conversation about whether to go for the first down or punt. Had NU shown a different look, Stanley said, it’s likely Iowa was going to call time out again and “readjust.”
“But we got the look we thought we would,” Stanley said. “And everybody executed their job.”
It ranked as one of Stanley’s favorite moments of his career.
“It’s up there, it’s up toward the top, being able to finish out a game like that,” he said.