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Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz has 143 wins under his belt at the University of Iowa, one away from the all-time record.

The Gazette will count down each win, as ranked by writer Marc Morehouse.

143

Dirty 'W': Jake Rudock, Iowa defense pull Hawkeyes out of the pit of ultimate darkness

Iowa 17, Ball State 13 | Sept. 6, 2014

Trainers help up Iowa offensive linesman Brandon Scherff after a Ball State touchdown at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Trainers help up Iowa offensive linesman Brandon Scherff after a Ball State touchdown at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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Three cool things:

1. That Hawkeyes team stunk it up against a below-average Mid-American team ... but ... quarterback Jake Rudock hit tight end Jake Duzey for a 12-yard touchdown with 1:00 left and the Hawkeyes pulled victory out of the recycling bin.

2. Former Iowa wide receiver Derrick Willies caught a TD pass. “It was nice,” Willies said about catching his first college TD. “I kind of blacked out for a second.” Later that year, he quit the team and transferred to Texas Tech.

3. This was the game where OL Brandon Scherff suffered some meniscus damage that led to a quick Sunday or Monday knee surgery. He still played like four days later against Iowa State.

Quote: “I’m taking this as happiness. It’s a ‘W.’ It’s obviously kind of a dirty ‘W,’ but we got it. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.” — defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat

Note: The 55 pass attempts (QB C.J. Beathard had a series and completed 2 of 3, including a near TD pass that might’ve sped up his rise to the starting role if completed) tied for the most in the Kirk Ferentz era.

Why No. 143?: Iowa needed to tap its reserve of perseverance ... against a really bad MAC team. At home. This was the second step on the road to the TaxSlayer Bowl.

Sorry for mentioning the TaxSlayer Bowl.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME

Game story from 2014

IOWA CITY — The play that kept Iowa from the bottom of the everything was called “scoot all-go.” Or something like that.

Quarterback Jake Rudock checked wide receiver Tevaun Smith, made another read and then checked down to tight end Jake Duzey. So, the checkdown, it’s not so bad after all.

“That was a checkdown,” Rudock said. “Third read was Duzey. He had a guy in the flat and I had to put it on him quick.”

Rudock showed patience and found Duzey for a 12-yard touchdown with 1:00 left and the Hawkeyes pulled victory out of the recycling bin, defeating Ball State, 17-13, before 64,210 fans Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.

The Iowa defense put the finishing touches on this, fittingly, with end Drew Ott sacking BSU quarterback Ozzie Mann and forcing a fumble that tackle Carl Davis recovered with 25 seconds left.

“Coach Parker [defensive coordinator Phil Parker] will have his stat sheet tomorrow with our seven goals on it,” Ott said. “We’ll check those out. The first goal is win, so we got that one done.”

So, breathe or drink or whatever. Iowa (2-0) survived at home against a Mid-American Conference school from Muncie, Ind. The fact that the Cardinals (1-1) won 17 of their last 19 didn’t seem to matter to the Hawkeyes or the good amount of fans who streamed out of Kinnick before the game was over.

“I’m taking this as happiness,” defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat said when asked if this was elation or relief. “It’s a ‘W.’ It’s obviously kind of a dirty ‘W,’ but we got it. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”

You really can’t put it any better than “dirty W.”

Iowa trailed 13-3 deep in the fourth quarter. With 2:52 left in the game, Rudock zipped a 12-yard TD pass to wide receiver Derrick Willies to pull Iowa within 13-10.

“It was nice,” Willies said about catching his first college TD. “I kind of blacked out for a second.”

Kind of like Iowa’s offense until the light went on in the fourth.

Iowa’s defense forced a three-and-out and Iowa used all of its timeouts. The Hawkeyes took over at their 41 with 2:23 left. First down, Rudock hit Smith for 16 yards. Second down was a checkdown to running back Damon Bullock. Then, a Bullock rush, a Rudock scramble, a pass to Duzey and another Rudock scramble moved the ball to BSU’s 12 with plenty of time left.

It was like someone unlocked the Iowa offense, which was BSU’s best offense. Two Jonathan Parker fumbles set up 10 points for the Cardinals.

The first fumble was the pit of ultimate darkness. Parker and Rudock misfired on a jet sweep handoff. BSU defensive tackle Blake Dueitt recovered and bolted 35 yards for a 7-0 lead early in the second. Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff tackled Dueitt at the goal line, got up and collapsed. He suffered an injury to his right knee. He left the game, but returned a few series later.

Again, breathe in, drink, happy place, whatever. Scherff said after the game that he was fine, but his knee will be checked out Sunday.

Rudock had another week of career highs, completing 33 of 52 for 322 yards and the two fourth-quarter TDs. It was the first time an Iowa QB had thrown for 300-plus yards since James Vandenberg had 399 against Pittsburgh on Sept. 17, 2011.

No, it still doesn’t feel like an Iowa offense. A wide receiver led the Hawkeyes in rushing last week. It was Rudock this week with 36 yards. Iowa rushed for 113 yards on 29 carries, its fewest rushing attempts in eight games, dating back to week 7 at Ohio State last season.

The 55 pass attempts (sophomore QB C.J. Beathard had a series and completed 2 of 3) tied for the most in the Kirk Ferentz era. The last time was 55 in the 2006 Outback Bowl.

Last week against Northern Iowa, no one seemed to mind that number. Saturday, Ferentz said no, not the plan.

“It isn’t,” he said. “It’s a by-product of where we’re at and the way we were playing. We were really fortunate to be down by the score we were down at that point based on what we had done. The defense is who kept us in it and gave us a chance to be in there.”

It was a dirty “W” saved by Rudock’s calm demeanor, a checkdown throw to the No. 3 option and a defense that had the last word.

Elation or relief?

“I think it’s more elation,” Ott said