Three cool things:
1. So, the Rudock-Beathard thing simmered for a bit.
Someone remembered from win No. 143, the 17-13 snoozer over Ball State, that C.J. Beathard nearly hit WR Damond Powell with what would’ve been one of the prettier TD passes we’d have seen in Kinnick in a while.
Beathard put the ball exactly where it needed to be. It was a bang-bang play and Powell couldn’t control it out of bounds. So, near miss.
Would it have changed anything? Probably not, but what fun is that answer?
Let’s say that pass hits and Beathard starts getting more playing time. The next week was a bitter 20-17 loss to Iowa State. Maybe Beathard could’ve helped. One other factor here is the low tide at wide receiver. Prospects were in and out at a high rate. Neither QB could breathe life into it.
Still, the road was right there. It was like 2008 between Jake Christensen and Ricky Stanzi. The QBs could’ve competed vs. Iowa State and then at Pitt, with a soft-open at Purdue the next week.
With Jake Rudock, the hay was in the barn. He guided Iowa to eight wins in 2013, a mostly defense-first team with NFL-level linebackers. Rudock not only was in the circle of trust, he built a house there.
We’ll never know the level of parent involvement here, but I think it was ... active. If Beathard’s dad telling the Nashville paper that maybe C.J. would transfer factored for Kirk Ferentz, he’s never said. I’m not sure he ever would say, but don’t think the parent stuff stops at the high school level. I’m not saying it’s all negative, either. It’s just a factor we don’t know a ton about until someone says something.
Did this QB thingie cost Iowa wins? Maybe 2014 Maryland, but other than that, the 2014 team had flaws and those were exposed late in the season and especially in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
The takeaway is give Ferentz credit for taking a critical look and taking serious action when he did. He did eventually call a two-year starter and tell him they’re going with the kid with the long hair (at least then).
2. I want to wish Drew Tate the best as he embarks on his coaching career. Gazette sports columnist Mike Hlas caught up with him this summer. Tate will be a defensive assistant at Coastal Carolina.
How could you not use his cameo when Iowa was in the middle of, now in retrospect, what was an open and active and maybe sort of volcanic QB competition?
3. Another factor in 2014 that conspired against the Hawkeyes was the monumental number of good backs in the Big Ten that season. Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon ... that probably still goes down bitter. Yes, he was committed to Iowa. Bret Bielema went and got him. (Bielema had a hand in a lot of the Florida Hawkeyes who came through in the early 2000s. He is a master recruiter.)
Indiana’s Tevin Coleman was certainly one of the league’s great backs in 2014. He showed that in quick order at Kinnick, rushing 15 times for 219 yards with TD runs of 83, 45 and 69.
Quick check and ... nope, no Kinnick Stadium records. It only felt like it.
Quote: We’ll get more into New Kirk at some point. In 2014, there was New Kirk foreshadowing. Iowa went for six more fourth downs than it did in 2013.
This wasn’t a shift in philosophy as much as it was coaching decisions made to try to win games. Iowa had one of those here.
Mark Weisman took a handoff and was tackled at the Indiana 1-yard line with 38 seconds left in the first half. Admit it, you were waiting for the field goal unit to trot on the field.
Quarterback Jake Rudock stood with the head referee and watched the clock tick to three seconds and called timeout. OK, field-goal unit, anytime now. Get out there.
The field-goal team stayed on the sideline. Offensive lineman/extra-jumbo tight end Ryan Ward trotted on the field. Ferentz was going for it. It was fourth-and-1 with three seconds left.
This was a major-league big deal. If the Hoosiers stuffed Iowa, the Hawkeyes would have gone away with no points with IU receiving the ball to start the third quarter.
“We have faith in our guys,” Ferentz said. “We wanted to play aggressively at that point.”
Note: It would be great to have a list of the great rushing performances against the Hawkeyes during the Ferentz era, but this one was pretty good. IU hit 316 yards.
In the 3 1/2 seasons since this, Iowa has allowed more than 300 yards once, and you guessed it, it was the 41-14 Saquon Barkley game in 2016 at Penn State.
Why No. 59? — Indiana was 4-8. You’ll roll your eyes every time Indiana is on the schedule, but more often than not, it’s a crazy fun game with a little bit of weirdness.
PREVIOUS COVERAGE OF THE GAME
Game story from 2014
IOWA CITY — Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz brought former Iowa quarterback and current Calgary Stampeder Drew Tate in as the honorary captain for Saturday.
It synced up well with the quarterback thunderstorm that rolled through Iowa City last week. Junior Jake Rudock injured a hip Sept. 20 at Pitt. Sophomore C.J. Beathard went in and led Iowa to two victories. Who better to bring into the football complex this week than Tate, a fiery competitor who went through tons of highs and lows during three seasons as a starter.
He’ll talk these guys through this, right? What was that conversation like?
“What’s up, Drew?” Rudock said. “It was short and sweet. He’s a cool guy.”
OK, so maybe it wasn’t a pep talk. Whatever message was sent by Ferentz saying he would play two QBs was received.
Rudock completed 19 of 27 for 210 yards and two TDs. Beathard steered the bus nicely for a few series, but let’s go back to Rudock.
Iowa needed a fast start and big plays. Rudock provided both in Iowa’s 45-29 victory over Indiana at Kinnick Stadium before 68,590 fans Saturday. By the end of the first quarter, Rudock had two TD passes, including a 72-yarder to wide receiver Damond Powell, and a pass efficiency of 239.56.
By the end of the first quarter, freshman running back Jonathan Parker had a 60-yard TD run on a jet sweep. Iowa had a 28-7 lead and its most first-quarter points since 28 against Ball State in 2005. Iowa also had a defensive touchdown from sophomore cornerback Desmond King.
Most of all, given the storm and stress over quarterbacks all week, Iowa had exceptional quarterback play. Rudock celebrated touchdowns and kept it fairly light afterward. He didn’t wag his finger at critics, but he did address the topic.
“You don’t really listen to the noise, but sometimes you’re going to hear stuff,” Rudock said. “You just have to flush it out real quick because everybody is an expert until they put a helmet on. That’s kind of just the way it is.”
Rudock was asked if he answered critics. All the world is a critic, including the questioners.
“You guys are the critics, aren’t you? Or are your readers?” Rudock said with a laugh. “I don’t know. Ask them. I’m just trying to play the best that I can. If I did, great. If not, it doesn’t really matter.”
Why, yes, of course, Beathard wanted to play more. But he has eyes. He saw what Rudock was doing and, yeah, why change?
“The offense started fast. You couldn’t really complain about it, you’re doing great,” said Beathard, who finished 2 of 5 for 9 yards and rushed four times for 28 yards. “I’d like to play more and do things, but you can’t complain about it. I have a role on this team and I know my role. We’re winning games, that’s all that matters.”
Iowa had a streak of touchdowns on three consecutive plays — a 12-yard Rudock-to-Jake Duzey TD pass, 72-yarder to Powell and Parker’s 60-yard sweep. Indiana had running back Tevin Coleman.
Iowa had some answers at QB, but Coleman had the numbers day, rushing 15 times for 219 yards with TD runs of 83, 45 and 69.
Even though the defense provided two turnovers that turned into TDs, Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker is going to be (blank) during this morning’s video review?
“I should probably leave it blank,” senior safety John Lowdermilk said. “Very critical. Very critical.”
Two factors that pushed this game Iowa’s way: With three seconds left before halftime, Ferentz decided to go for it at fourth-and-goal from the 1. Running back Mark Weisman scored and Iowa went into the locker room with a 38-21 lead.
“Someone ran into my back, I assume it was Mark,” said junior Austin Blythe, who moved from center to right guard after junior Jordan Walsh injured an ankle in the first quarter. Senior Tommy Gaul finished the game at center.
Indiana’s fortunes changed drastically when QB Nate Sudfeld left with a shoulder injury after being sacked by Carl Davis and Drew Ott. Sudfeld’s arm kept Iowa honest. Freshman Chris Covington, his replacement, is a read-option QB and Iowa was able to sit on the run.