One Decision That’s Resulting in Two Great Big Ten Seasons
Thursday, January 8, 2015. It was the day a decision on the University of Iowa campus changed the fortunes of two Big Ten football teams. Six days earlier, on January 2nd, Iowa had gotten throttled by Tennessee in the TaxSlayer Bowl, 45-28. The state of Iowa was abuzz with discontent. Fans felt Iowa needed a new offensive coordinator to replace Greg Davis and maybe a new head coach. However, on that fateful January day Kirk Ferentz released a new two-deep roster to the media... in the second week of January. It was unheard of, but the message was delivered. Iowa was going to start C.J. Beathard at quarterback. Jake Rudock would be the backup.
In March came reports that Rudock would transfer and on April 1, Sports Illustrated announced Rudock was bound for the Michigan Wolverines to play for first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh. Eight days later, Michigan confirmed it. Strangely, there seemed to be a sigh of relief in Iowa. Following a season of a seemingly constant quarterback controversy, there would be none in the 2015 season.
There would never be an official announcement that Rudock would start Michigan's opener against Utah, but he did. Rudock and Michigan would lose that game, but the Wolverines have been on fire ever since. Yes, they lost to Michigan State on a freak play at the end of the game but otherwise Michigan would stand with only one loss and would be in the discussion for the college football playoff, just like Iowa is. Don't count 'em out yet, though.
Saturday, Rudock threw for a career-high 337 yards as Michigan demolished Rutgers 49-16. Michigan is now ranked 15th nationally, in both polls. Still, I don't think you'd find anyone not thrilled that C.J. Beathard is the man in Iowa City.
Obviously you know Iowa is 9-0 to start the 2015 season. It's the second time in school history it's happened. A win over Minnesota Saturday night (7 PM/Big Ten Network) would give Iowa the school's first 10-0 start in history. Iowa moved up to #8 this week in both the ESPN Coaches Poll and the Associated Press poll.
C.J. Beathard is 10-0 as the starting quarterback at Iowa. He's a leader. You've heard Iowa players and coaches say it again and again this season. Beathard is one tough hombre, too. Though he's missed some deep throws lately, he's got the arm to make them. When Iowa's offense is on the field, fun usually follows. Beathard has 10 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. Despite injuries that have clearly limited his mobility, he's rushed for more than 200 yards and four touchdowns. When Iowa HAS to have a play, Beathard and his teammates seem to find a way. Saturday, on this occasion anyway, it happened to be over the top:
Throughout the 2014 season, it felt like there was something missing. Were the Hawkeyes giving 100 percent? Was the talent there? Did the offense like the scheme they were running? It seemed that Iowa had more hop in their step when Beathard was on the field. Did his teammates like Jake Rudock? We'll never know, but clearly Rudock at Michigan and Beathard at Iowa is working out as well as anyone could have dreamed, at either school. That is if fans of either team could've even dreamed how well things have gone to this point.