October 08, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis made waves last week when he said the Hawkeyes would rotate quarterbacks Jake Rudock and C.J. Beathard, adding that playing time would be decided by ''feel.''

The next day, coach Kirk Ferentz declared that Rudock was still his starter.

But Ferentz also said that Beathard would see more playing time in the weeks ahead.

Clearly, Iowa's quarterback drama won't end until either Rudock or Beathard prove they deserve to be the guy.

The Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) will use both of them when they host Indiana (3-2, 0-1) on Saturday, though they've yet to decide on a plan.

Rudock missed a win over Purdue on Sept. 27 with a leg injury. But Ferentz said Tuesday that Rudock will be ready to play.

''The bottom line is we've got two guys we feel really good about. I sound like a broken record on this one,'' Ferentz said. ''Both guys have played well. Jake has done a great job for us, and C.J., when called upon, has played really well too. So we'll just try to figure out the best way to work it.''

Beathard, a sophomore, had his shot to end all the turbulence at quarterback against Purdue.

Beathard's performance only exacerbated the uncertainty.

Beathard was up and down against one of the Big Ten's worst defenses. In his first career start, Beathard completed just 17 of 37 passes - although his receivers dropped at least a half-dozen passes - for 245 yards and a touchdown.

Beathard also threw an interception that Purdue returned for its only touchdown in a 24-10 Iowa win.

Beathard completed four passes of more than 20 yards, nearly matching Iowa's total for the entire season in just four quarters.

Iowa's inability to stretch the field had hampered the offense all season. In that regard, Beathard appears to have the edge on Rudock.

But Rudock wouldn't be listed as the starter unless Ferentz still believed in him.

''Jake entered this season as a guy who played well a year ago. I think a lot of that has been diminished by people, at least if you hear the chatter. But he's done a lot of good things for us,'' Ferentz said.

Rudock's completion percentage is up and his turnovers are down this season. But the Hawkeyes scored just 10 points in the past two halves Rudock played in.

Rudock is 85 of 127 for 798 yards with five TDs and two interceptions.

''It's that whole, the backup quarterback is the love of the town. That's just how it is everywhere,'' Rudock said. ''Sometimes people want the backup, and (Beathard) is a good quarterback. He's proven that.''

Those looking for clues into how this rotation might play out should look back six years.

Ferentz opened up the starting job after the Hawkeyes went 6-6 in 2007. Junior Jake Christensen and sophomore Ricky Stanzi split time for the first four games of the season before a loss at Pittsburgh convinced the coaches to stick with Stanzi.

After a bit of a bumpy start, Stanzi led Iowa to 17 wins in 19 games and an Orange Bowl victory - the only BCS bowl win of Ferentz's tenure - by the end of his junior year.

But even Ferentz doesn't know how the competition between Rudock and Beathard will pan out.

''If I had the answer, I'd tell you. We don't have it yet. We haven't gone down this road, but we're about to,'' Ferentz said.

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Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

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