Iowa junior quarterback Ricky Stanzi underwent right ankle surgery earlier this week and remains extremely doubtful for the team's final two regular-season games.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed Stanzi's surgery on Tuesday but remains hopeful that Stanzi could return for the Hawkeyes' bowl game. Stanzi suffered a severe ankle sprain in Saturday's loss to Northwestern when Corey Wootton sacked him in the end zone. Iowa (No. 10 BCS, No. 15 AP) went on to lose 17-10.
"It is correct that he had surgery," Ferentz said. "We think he's going to be just fine. It's very, very doubtful that he'll play the next two weeks, but we're very, very confident that he'll return shortly thereafter."
Ferentz said there's "a good chance" Stanzi will return for a bowl game.
Iowa had won 13 consecutive games with Stanzi at the helm before his injury. He has passed for 2,186 yards with 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions this season. Stanzi rallied Iowa from eight deficits to win games.
Redshirt freshman James Vandenberg, who was 9 of 27 for 82 yards and a costly interception against Northwestern, will make his first career start when Iowa visits Ohio State (No. 11 BCS, No. 10 AP) on Saturday (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).
"It's going to be exciting," Vandenberg said, according to The Associated Press. "It's kind of what you dream about growing up, being in a situation like this. And here it is."
Adam Rittenberg covers Big Ten football for ESPN.com. He can be reached at email@example.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.