The Iowa Hawkeyes (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) and Northwestern Wildcats (4-4, 0-4) have made their share of mistakes this season and both teams seemed doomed to make another one on Saturday.
But Iowa’s sophomore quarterback Jake Rudock did what Northwestern’s Kain Colter couldn’t: will his team to a 17-10 win in overtime.
The Hawkeyes had mounted a 10-point lead and had held the Wildcats scoreless heading into halftime, but couldn’t manage the same feat in the second half. Both offenses split time executing plays, which turned the match into a defensive battle.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz’s defensive unit has had trouble pressuring the quarterback all season but took advantage of Colter, who was rusty after an injury kept him out of the previous couple of games.
Ferentz’s defensive unit sacked Colter six times – a season-high – and didn’t allow him any rhythm until the second half.
Rudock however, is the quarterback that finished the game with the win and led the Hawkeyes to their second Big Ten win after a two-game losing streak.
The Weston, Fla. native has been consistent all season long - he has also made good use of his escapability with five rushing touchdowns.
He didn’t have his best performance of the year – finishing with under 2oo yards passing (169) and one interception – but he did have his most important.
With three minutes left to play, Rudock had the opportunity to lead his team down the field and get a win in regulation. Rudock marched his team to the Northwestern 34 before his lack of experience showed up.
The sophomore had the momentum but couldn’t capitalize. Northwestern linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo intercepted Rudock on 4th and 11. Luckily however, the Hawkeyes and Rudock would get another chance in overtime.
In overtime, Rudock completed both of his passes. His first pass went to Tavon Smith for 14 yards on 1st down. After two Mark Weisman rushes and an Iowa false start penalty, Rudock found his favortie red-zone target for a 8-yard touchdown.
C.J. Fiedorowicz has been Rudock’s most reliable target in the red zone – he has accounted for four touchdowns this season. Rudock was facing pressure from the Wildcat defense but he stepped up and threw a ball he knew would reach his tight end’s hands.
Hawkeye defensive linemen Louis Trinca-Pasat prevented Colter from converting a 4th and 8 to end the game and seal the Hawkeyes’ second Big Ten win of the season.
Iowa didn’t play its best game but found a way to pull out a win - albeit in overtime – and saw its quarterback of the future take a big step foward.
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