QB Picture Clearly Cloudy

The biggest question whirling around Hawkeye Nation this week surrounds the quarterback position and who will be the starter Saturday at Purdue. Coach Kirk Ferentz updated the status of his signal callers Sunday night.

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa heads to Purdue for its Big Ten opener Saturday with the picture clearly cloudy at quarterback.

Starter Jake Rudock suffered an injury (we think a hip sprain) late in the first half of Saturday's 24-20 win at Pitt. C.J. Beathard replaced him and led the team on three scoring drives after the intermission.

Rudock limped off Heinz Field with a trainer and did not meet with the media after Saturday's game. Hawkeye Head Coach Kirk Ferentz said Sunday in a video interview on the team's official website that time will tell on who will be behind center in West Lafayette, IN.

"(Rudock is) probably going to be, my guess, day to day," Ferentz told HawkeyeSports.com. "He's sore (Sunday). We'll just have to see how it goes over the next couple of three days. But hopefully we'll get him back somewhere mid-week or end of the week. I don't think it's anything real serious but we'll know more here in a couple of days."

Rudock was on the top line of the depth chart released Monday. The junior has been listed on the top line throughout the last two seasons and started the last 17 games for the Hawkeyes (3-1).

Rudock had taken all the snaps through the first three games of 2014 save one series against Ball State in Week 2 when the coaches carved out one possession for Beathard. Ferentz and offensive coordinator Greg Davis spoke throughout the offseason of getting the backup more work than just potential mop-up duty.

Iowa came into the Pitt contest ranked 98th national in scoring offense. The week before, the Hawkeyes scored just three second-half points in an upset loss at home to rival Iowa State.

Saturday, Iowa managed just seven points before halftime. They came on a Rudock fourth-down touchdown pass to Henry Krieger Coble. In fairness, the Panthers controlled the clock by running the football and holding the visitors' offense to just five second-quarter plays.

Rudock completed 5 of 10 passes before leaving the game following a jarring hit from Lafayette Pitts on a corner blitz. Iowa's starter totaled 80 yards with the TD toss. He threw a bomb intercepted by Pitts earlier in the contest on a ball dropped by his receiver, Damond Powell. Another deep pass to Matt Vandeberg was caught for a 44-yard gain.

Beathard's play of the day came early in the third quarter when he connected with Powell on a 62-yard pass play. Equally as impressive, but less spectacular, was a 10-yard completion to tight end Ray Hamilton when he hung in the pocket, took a shot from the defender and released the ball on time for a first down on a third-and-seven. It kept the game-winning touchdown drive alive.

Beathard completed 7 of 8 passes for 98 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. He burned a timeout in the fourth quarter that frustrated the coaches but, overall, he played a poised game.

"C.J. came in and did a wonderful job. I thought Jake was playing well and couldn't go in the second half. C.J. came in and really did an excellent job; made some big conversions and hit the deep ball," Ferentz told HawkeyeSports.com.


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