IOWA CITY — He will never be confused with RG3, and even the notion that he’s pretty nimble on his feet draws a chuckle, but Jake Rudock is adding something to the Iowa offense with his ability to run.
“It gives the defense one more thing to worry about,” the Hawkeye quarterback said after rushing for 33 yards on seven carries, including touchdown runs of 6 and 2 yards, Saturday in Iowa’s 28-14 victory over Missouri State.
He’s played only two games for the Hawkeyes, but Rudock has not been bashful about introducing his running skills as a weapon in Iowa’s offensive arsenal.
The sophomore has carried the ball 11 times for 53 yards for the Hawkeyes during their 1-1 start, averaging 4.8 yards and carrying the ball into the end zone three times already.
By comparison, James Vandenberg rushed for 16 total yards on 63 carries last season, averaging 0.3 yards when he ran with the ball in his hands.
“It’s an extra wrinkle that I can bring to the field during the game and if it is something that helps us move the football and it’s the smart thing to do at the time, I don’t have a problem running the ball,” Rudock said.
Neither does coach Kirk Ferentz.
“Any time a quarterback can pull the ball down and make yardage, positive yardage and be aware of what he’s doing, that’s a good thing,” Ferentz said. “Otherwise, people are just teeing off and not worried so much about containing those types of things.”
Rudock scored Iowa’s first and final touchdowns against the Bears, and Ferentz wants Rudock to be smart about when he opts to tuck the ball and run.
“It looked like he might have got hit once on a play where it looked like he could have gotten down a little bit earlier,” Ferentz said. “That might be a lesson he has to learn.”
But, Iowa continues to learn about the make-up of its first-year starter behind center.
Ferentz said Hawkeye coaches liked Rudock’s athleticism as they recruited him, but he was uncertain whether that would translate into running abilities at the collegiate level.
“When guys start improvising with their feet, that’s something you find out when the real rush starts coming because we don’t let our guys get him in practice,” Ferentz said. “So far, so good. He’s been pretty slippery back there.”
Rudock likes it that way.
“I’m not slow, but I don’t know if I’m fast, either,” Rudock said. “I do what I can. Let’s keep it at that.”