Hawkeye left tackle talks after loss to Wisconsin. Andrew Logue/The Register
IOWA CITY, Ia. – Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock had the third 300-yard passing game of his career in Saturday's 26-24 loss to No. 14 Wisconsin.
But this one was the most impressive. Rudock completed 20-of-30 passes for 311 yards and a pair of scores against a Wisconsin secondary that came into the game third nationally in pass defense.
The Badgers had allowed an average of 147.3 passing yards a game. Rudock's 311 yards were the most Wisconsin's secondary has surrendered all season.
After a 49-7 victory over Northwestern on Nov. 1, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said he thought that might have been the best game of the junior's career. Rudock completed 12-of-19 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown against the Wildcats. But Saturday's performance might have replaced that one.
"Jake competed and played about as well as I think that he has during his time here and he's done a lot of good things for us," Ferentz said.
A new wrinkle in the offensive line also gave Rudock plenty of time to throw on most of the snaps. Offensive lineman Ike Boettger, a redshirt freshman from Cedar Falls, made his first career start. He lined up outside the tackle to give the Hawkeyes an extra blocker. Boettger's number also changed, from 75 to 99.
Boettger also played in the third game of the season, against Ball State, replacing left tackle Brandon Scherff for two series after Scherff injured a knee.
Rudock threw for more than 300 yards against Ball State. He also did it against Maryland this season. Rudock's touchdown passes of 20 yards to Kevonte Martin-Manley and 9 yards to Jake Duzey on Saturday gave him 32 scoring tosses for his career. Rudock also rushed for 25 yards and a touchdown against the Badgers.
The junior from Weston, Fla., now has 4,557 passing yards, moving him past Kyle McCann and into eighth on Iowa's career list.
Rudock did most of his damage in the second half against the Badgers, completing 10-of-16 passes for 212 yards. Rudock was clearly in rhythm the second half.
"I think momentum helps a little bit," Rudock said. "Confidence. And also it's a lot of details that we started making to stay on the field, on third down. That's always huge."