IOWA CITY, Ia. – It was the signature play of Jake Rudock’s Iowa football career, so far.
But the sophomore quarterback is a little fuzzy on the details of his 8-yard, game-winning touchdown pass to tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz.
“I just remember the cover zero, the blitz,” Rudock said. “I had to get it out, and then you hear the crowd going.
So were most of the 66,838 at Kinnick Stadium, who endured several tense moments Saturday before the Hawkeyes secured a 17-10 victory against Northwestern.
Iowa squandered two fourth-quarter scoring chances and was facing third-and-7 from the 8-yard line on the opening series of overtime.
Settling for a fourth-down field goal could have set the stage for another disheartening loss to the Wildcats.
Fortunately for the Hawkeyes, offensive coordinator Greg Davis was prepared for such circumstances.
“Actually, we practiced that exact play, with that exact coverage this whole week,” Fiedorowicz said. “We knew as a wide receiver unit we needed to make a play.”
Success hinged on Fiedorowicz sprinting to a certain spot in the end zone, and Rudock standing firm in pocket.
“You don’t know if they’re going to try to defend or bring pressure,” Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz said. “And they brought the house, it looked like.”
Northwestern safety Ibraheim Campbell and linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo drew a bead on Rudock and closed quickly.
“The pre-snap read was, they could bring something,” Rudock said. “After the snap, it’s on. You can’t hide stuff. You have to do what you’re going to do.”
Rudock released before Campbell and Ariguzo arrived, but Fiedorowicz was still en route.
“I almost thought it looked like he was throwing it away,” Iowa linebacker James Morris said of his view from the sideline. “And then, C.J. came out of nowhere to grab it.”
The 6-foot-7, 265-pound Fiedorowicz owned a size advantage in man coverage.
“C.J. is tough to defend down there,” Feretnz said. “And those are the kind of plays you’ve got to be able to make at some point, if you’re going to be able to win conference games.”
Fiedorowicz has caught a pass in 26 straight games. For Rudock, it was another example of his poise.
“He did a great job of waiting until the last second and then had faith that C.J. would be in the right spot,” Ferentz said. “Looked like he put the ball out there and C.J. went and got it.”
Rudock seemed a bit dazed, but insisted he was merely caught up in the moment.
“I swear, I don’t have a concussion,” he said, when asked about his health. “I promise.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football