Kirk Ferentz stays loyal to Jake Rudock through struggles

Andrew Logue

Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock (15) looks on after he was knocked down during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Maryland, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, in College Park, Md. Maryland won 38-31. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Jake Rudock was harassed by Maryland defenders during Saturday's game and surrounded by reporters after it. Neither experience was much fun.

The Terrapins consistently pressured Rudock, forcing quick throws to receivers who were rarely open. It all culminated with a pick-six early in the fourth quarter, which left the Hawkeyes trailing 31-21.

"I thought we had a hitch out there," Rudock said. "I thought I might be able to get it in quick enough.

"Just a bad decision."

Rudock ended up completing 32 of 56 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns. But the debate rages on Twitter about whether backup C.J. Beathard should take more snaps.

Coach Kirk Ferentz told reporters that Beathard was "a little nicked up," but was available if needed. Beathard didn't play against Maryland.

Was there any thought of using Beathard?

"Not much," Ferentz said. "I'm sure there will be a little of that (talk) next week, publicly. I don't know about internally.

"We'll talk about it. We always do."

It's tough to envision Beathard enjoying much success with the way Iowa's offensive line strugged to protect Rudock.

Rudock, however, accepted much of the blame for the Hawkeyes' struggles.

"I could do a better job of just getting the ball out quicker," he said. "Teams are going to bring blitzes that you can't block everybody.

"It just comes down to me making a quicker decision that could help our team."

Rudock helped the Hawkeyes trim a 38-21 deficit to seven points in the closing minutes, thanks in part to Jacob Hillyer's onside kick recovery.

But Iowa's comeback bid faded as precious seconds ticked away. Rudock failed to spike the football to save time, with the Hawkeyes out of timeouts.

His final pass went into the middle of the field with five seconds to play. It was dropped anyway. Momentum was hard to come by Saturday.

"We're just trying to keep it going," Rudock said. "We can call our plays pretty quick."