C.J. Beathard battles through injury, still hurting
EVANSTON, Ill. — C.J. Beathard fought through pain Saturday in becoming the first Iowa quarterback to win his first eight starts.
The junior wasn’t as mobile as usual with what’s believed to be a right groin injury, but more importantly he led the No. 17 Hawkeyes’ 40-10 win over No. 20 Northwestern before 44,135 fans at Ryan Field.
“I was a little bit limited in what I could do running-wise,” said Beathard, who still ran six times for 22 yards but was sacked twice for losses of 20 — a net of two rushing yards on eight carries. “Once my adrenaline got going, it was hard to feel it sometimes.”
There was uncertainty about how effective Beathard could be going into Saturday’s game, but he was able to move around just enough in the pocket to keep Northwestern guessing. He finished 15-for-25 for 176 yards, with eight of those completions going to Matt VandeBerg.
But it might be the last incompletion that will linger over the next two weeks for Beathard. On his last play from scrimmage, a throw-away on third-and-2 from Northwestern’s 4 in a 30-10 game, Beathard was tackled hard by Godwin Igwebuike. It took him a while to get up, and when he did, he walked slowly and gingerly off the field.
Beathard had a noticeable limp after the game, too.
“I got landed on weird,” Beathard said. “Same type of injury I’ve been dealing with the past week. I hurt something up in my leg. I felt it there pretty bad.”
Tyler Wiegers took the rest of the day’s snaps, with Iowa ahead 33-10. Wiegers got most of the reps in practice this past week as Beathard tried to recover from a pounding he took in last week’s 29-20 win over Illinois.
“I was limited in practice, but quarterback’s such a mental game,” Beathard said. “It’s all about mental reps and watching film, and that’s how it was.”
Beathard improved to 8-0 as a starter — 4-0 at home, 4-0 on the road. That breaks the tie he had with Matt Sherman, who started his career 7-0 in 1994-95.
Iowa doesn’t play again until Oct. 31. That gives Beathard 13 no-contact days to improve. But the Hawkeyes needed him to lead this team at less than 100 percent Saturday.
And he did, to the tune of 492 yards of total offense.
“That was pure guts on his part,” coach Kirk Ferentz said.