ARTICLE

Notebook: Rudock responds to adversity

Also: Hawkeyes winning on the road, Fiedorowicz talks Senior Bowl

Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Jake Rudock (15) gets up from the turf as Michigan Players celebrate after Brennen Beyer ran a
Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback Jake Rudock (15) gets up from the turf as Michigan Players celebrate after Brennen Beyer ran an interception seven yards for a touchdown during the first quarter of their NCAA game at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, in Iowa City, Iowa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)

IOWA CITY -- Responding to a pick-six on his first play of the game might not even have been Jake Rudock's toughest test last week.

"As you probably know, we didn't game plan that first play to come out the way it did. Couldn't have been more disastrous," head coach Kirk Ferentz said Tuesday. "Nothing seems to affect him. He had another organic chemistry test last Wednesday, and whatever is in front of him, he works through it, grinds through it."

Former Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg warned Rudock that a microbiology major and a starting quarterback gig doesn't leave room for much else in the fall. But, like he has most of the time on the field this season, Rudock is keeping a level head.

"We're doing alright," he said. "My major's not supposed to be easy, but that's part of why I chose it. [Vandenberg] told me that, but I knew it was going to be tough. It's tougher during the season, too, because there are time constraints. But I chose it, so I just attack it as best I can."

Rudock is completing 60 percent of his passes this season, with 16 touchdowns to 12 interceptions. Most importantly, besides that shaky first half against Michigan, he has hardly played like a first-year starter.

"He's really a mentally tough guy, a physically tough guy," Ferentz said. "I think he's just continued to really impress us."

SUCCESS ON THE ROAD

A year after Iowa played miserably on the road, Rudock is actually enjoying his trips into opponents' arenas. The Hawkeyes have won three of their four away games this season, and were tied with No. 3 Ohio State entering the fourth quarter in their one loss. The sophomore quarterback said Tuesday that playing in Ohio Stadium -- or Memorial Stadium this Friday -- is more something to brag about than fear.

"The coolest thing about it is being able to say you've gone there and actually played football there," he said. "It's like people go to Fenway and say, 'Wow, that was awesome, I was at Fenway.' But for the lucky few who have actually been on the field to play, it's something special you can look back on."

It helps that he has performed at least as well in those road games than in Kinnick Stadium. Rudock has thrown 8 touchdown passes to just two interceptions on road games, with 203 yards per game and a 147.8 passer rating. Those numbers at home? Eight touchdowns to 10 picks, 192 yards per game, and a 118.3 rating.

"The biggest thing is communication," he said. "Making sure everybody is on the same page and just concentrating, because you can't talk as well as when you're at home."

"We've handled ourselves well on the road this year," running back Mark Weisman said. "We've got to continue to do so. It's good to have that in our back pocket, that we've done well, but it doesn't mean anything if we don't play well on Friday."

FIEDOROWICZ TALKS SENIOR BOWL

Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz accepted this week an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala. It's televised on the NFL Network, and he'll work with NFL coaches during that week. This will be Fiedorowicz' big audition.

It's not fully on his radar yet."I don't know much about it. They asked me to play in it, in January 25 in Alabama, with NFL coaches," he said. "There's going to be scouts there and stuff. It's been my dream since I was a young kid to play at that level, but that's down the road, after the bowl game. So I'm going to focus on that for now."

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