Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz has named Jake Christensen as the starting quarterback for the Hawkeye’s season opener this Saturday against Maine. The junior started all 12 games last year and edged out sophomore Rick Stanzi in what Ferentz called a close race.

Ferentz says Christensen came in as the starter and has practiced well and elevated his performance from the spring and continued to improve. Ferentz says Stanzi wasn’t a factor in the race last year, but improved in the spring and although he missed practice in the fall due to injury, he has progressed.

Ferentz says both quarterbacks have made major strides since last season. He says both have the capability to move the offense, which he says is a good thing. He says the challenge for both is to perform better. Ferentz expects both to play on Saturday.

Ferentz also announced that running back Nate Guillory has left the team. The junior college transfer was expected to contend for the starting running back roll, a spot that was won by Shonn Greene. Ferentz says Guillory did a good job, but made the decision to leave, and the coach says he leaves in good standing.

Ferentz says he is not concerned about depth at running back, as he says he’s confident they will play well at the position. He says Green has played well as have the others in the position. Ferentz says the jury is still out as they haven’t played any snaps that count, but he’s confident they will play well.

The Hawkeyes are looking to improve upon last year’s 6-6 record.