SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Jake Rudock struggled in his debut as Michigan’s starting quarterback at Utah on Thursday night. He threw three interceptions and missed multiple open receivers downfield, as Utah defeated U-M 24-17.
Simply put: It was a game to forget for Rudock.
And despite his struggles, when asked if he was told if he was still starter moving forward by coach Jim Harbaugh, Rudock says he was still “comfortable” as Michigan’s starting quarterback.
“I felt comfortable, that’s how you have to approach every single game just feeling comfortable,” Rudock said. “I think that a better question for coach, if you really want an answer to that.”
Rudock completed 27 of 43 passes for 279 yards with two touchdowns, but it was his third interception that cost the Wolverines. With U-M trailing 17-10, Rudock threw a pick six that put the Utes up 24-10.
“The player made a heck of a good play, 17 made a good play,” Harbaugh said of Rudock’s third interception. “It’s third-and-five and it’s a gotta have it type of play and you gotta make that throw. He tried to stick it in there and it went the other way. Welcome to football.”
However, Rudock was able to recover and lead the Wolverines to a score on their following possesions to cut Utah’s lead to 24-17, which earn his praise as a “leader” by his teammates.
“He’s a competitor, he’s a leader, he’s our quarterback and he knows how to get the job done – he knows how to win,” defensive end Chris Wormley said of Rudock. “I think it says a lot.”
Tight end Jake Butt, who finished with eight catches for 93 yards and touchdown, echoed Wormely’s statement.
“He’s a fighter and a good leader,” Butt said of Rudock. “No matter what happened he kept coming back. He stuck to the plan and kept us all up on the sideline. He kept us focused.”
And even with quarterback’s struggles, Butt had a message for Rudock in the post-game.
“Stick to plan, you’re not going to be perfect. You’re going to have down weeks. You’re going to have great weeks. He showed he can be really, really great. Stick to plan, don’t dwell on it and come back next week stronger.”
Michigan (0-1) plays host to Oregon State on Sept. 12.