C.J. Beathard and Jake Rudock: A 4-TD weekend

Former Iowa quarterbacks have successful preseason Week 1 efforts

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What if I’d told you …

Hey, that’s a pretty good opening hook. Someone should use that.

What if I’d told you the 45-28 pummeling Iowa took from Tennessee in the Jan. 2, 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl that the two quarterbacks the Hawkeyes used in that game would both throw two touchdown passes in NFL preseason games in the same weekend two years later?

What if, after that game in which it seemed Iowa alternated its top two quarterbacks, got no offensive flow no matter who was on the field, and trailed 42-7 after three quarters, that Jake Rudock would transfer to Michigan, have a very good senior season for Jim Harbaugh in 2015, and get drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2016?

What if I’d told you C.J. Beathard, perhaps close to transferring out of Iowa before Rudock was nudged out of the program (though Beathard insisted he didn’t consider leaving), gave the Hawkeyes two strong seasons and quarterbacked them to the Rose Bowl in 2015, and would get drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2017?

What if I’d told you Beathard would throw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes in his first preseason game for the Niners, which he did Friday night in San Francisco’s 27-17 win at Kansas City?

What if I’d told you Rudock would throw two TD tosses in Detroit’s first preseason game of 2017, a 24-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts?

What if I’d told you Rudock would be in line to be the Lions’ No. 2 quarterback entering his second pro year, and Beathard wasn’t going to cede the No. 2 job with the Niners without a fight in his rookie season?

It might all have been a bit much to accept the day the two had combined to go 15-for-31 against Tennessee that day in Jacksonville, with most of the 177 passing yards they accumulated coming after the game was a lost cause.

Sports. There are always surprises.

Beathard started slowly but gradually got more comfortable Friday at Kansas City. He threw a 46-yard TD pass to fellow rookie Kendrick Bourne early in the fourth quarter, then hit Bourne for a pretty 2-point conversion pass. Later, he connected with fullback Tyler McClosky on a 2-yard TD. Beathard took 41 snaps.

“He does good job hanging in the pocket, getting the ball to the right spots,” San Francisco Coach Kyle Shanahan said of Beathard. “You can see he’s a pretty tough competitor.”

Beathard completed 7 of 11 passes for 101 yards.

Rudock, meanwhile, was the second quarterback used by Detroit Sunday. He completed 13 of 21 passes for 142 yards, including first-half touchdown passes of 23 and 15 yards to Kenny Golladay, a rookie from Northern Illinois. Rudock also rushed twice, for 24 yards.

Rudock was on the Lions’ practice squad from the start of the season until Nov. 23 last season. He has yet to throw a regular-season pass.

There are plenty of other former Hawkeyes either with secure NFL roster spots or who are competing for one. Two highlights from their weekends:

Desmond King, rookie cornerback, had an interception and a 19-yard kickoff return for the Los Angeles Chargers in their 48-17 loss to Seattle Sunday night.

Mike Meyer, who hasn’t played for Iowa since the 2013 season, hasn’t given up on an NFL career. Trying to unseat 42-year-old, 15-year veteran Matt Bryant, Meyer had field goals of 30 and 53 yards for the Atlanta Falcons in their 23-20 defeat at Miami.

“You guys who’ve been at practice have seen how strong his leg is,” Atlanta Coach Dan Quinn said. “We thought, if we had the opportunity, that we were going to give him a shot at it. It just so happened that he nailed it just like he does in practice.

“He’s got a fantastic model to look (at) in terms of consistency in Matt Bryant. Watching Matt (trying to) make every kick the same, that’s really rubbed off on Mike as well. We are happy for him tonight.”

Sunday, Falcons writer D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggested Meyer might be someone the Tampa Bay Buccaneers consider acquiring.

Meyer is one of two ex-Iowa kickers trying to take NFL jobs from incumbents. Marshall Koehn is doing likewise with the Minnesota Vikings. Koehn didn’t get a field goal try in the Vikings’ preseason opener last Thursday at Buffalo.

Koehn made all four of his field goals in a special teams practice period Sunday, from 43, 46, 49 and 52 yards. He missed a 58-yard field goal attempt during a situational drill later in practice.

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