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FOURTH QUARTER - WHO DO YOU WANT?

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You are Kirk Ferentz, it's the Tax Slayer Bowl, there's 4 minutes left and Iowa is down by 4...who do you put in at quarterback?

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a ton of debate about Jake vs. C.J. throughout the season and the events of the past month have only heightened it. Kirk Ferentz announced, to no one's surprise, that Jake Rudock will be the starter on Friday and Greg Davis let us know that Rudock will be splitting time with C.J. Beathard at least in the first half.

And while I think ultimately how the running game comes together will matter more than QB play (like it has all season), it'll still very interesting to watch and see how this QB competition pans out. Will there be a set rotation? Will they split time on the same series? Will they run the same offense or will Beathard have the zone-read package? ...?

And how about, who will go in if the game is on the line late in the fourth quarter?

For me...I'm going with Rudock. I was thinking about leaving my opinion out of the post, but I'll stick up for the guy because while he's had his ups and downs this year (and it unfortunately ended with a down), in "clutch" situations this year Rudock has been fantastic.

Clutch Drives (less than 10 minutes left and score within 7 points)

  • UNI: 24-23, 9:41 left. 6 plays, 88 yards, TD (Rudock: 4/5, 77 yards)
  • Ball State: 3-13, 5:50 left. 10 plays, 69 yards, TD (Rudock: 5/7, 34 yards and 2 rushes for 26 yards)
  • Ball State: 10-13, 2:23 left. 6 plays, 50 yards, TD (Rudock: 4/4, 43 yards and 1 rush for 6 yards)
  • Iowa State: 14-17, 7:33 left. 10 plays, 56 yards, FG (Rudock: 3/6, 32 yards)
  • Maryland: 31-38, 0:59 left. 6 plays, 24 yards, downs (Rudock: 3/6, 24 yards)
  • Nebraska: 24-28, 7:06 left. 12 plays, 53 yards, TD (Rudock: 3/4, 30 yards)

Final Stats

6 drives, 4 TDs, 1 FG, 1 turnover on downs
Passing: 26/43 for 266 yards
Rushing: 3 rushes for 32 yards

Other drives (didn’t quite meet the critieria, either by margin or time left)

Rudock

  • Maryland: 21-24, 13:09 left. 3 plays, 4 yards, Pick-six (Rudock: 1/3, 4 yards - interception)
  • Maryland: 21-38, 4:58 left. 11 plays, 75 yards, TD (Rudock: 6/10, 68 yards and 1 rush for 7 yards)
  • Maryland: 28-38, 2:58 left. 10 plays, 44 yards, FG (Rudock: 5/7, 52 yards and 1 rush for 4 yards)
  • Wisconsin: 11-19, 13:54 left. 6 plays, 82 yards, TD (Rudock: 2/3, 61 yards and 1 rush for 3 yards)
  • Wisconsin: 17-26, 7:44 left. 7 plays, 86 yards, TD (Rudock: 3/4, 59 yards and 2 rushes for 32 yards)
  • Nebraska: 24-21, 13:24 left. 5 plays, 13 yards, punt (Rudock: 0/4, 0 yards)
  • Nebraska: 24-28, 12:06 left. 8 plays, 18 yards, punt (Rudock: 3/5, 22 yards)

Beathard

  • Pitt: 17-20, 14:42 left. 13 plays, 52 yards, TD (Beathard: 4/4, 23 yards and 1 rush for 2 yards)
  • Purdue: 17-10, 13:07 left, 3 plays, 3 yards, punt (Beathard: 0/1, 0 yards)
  • Purdue: 17-10, 10:36 left, 12 plays, 79 yards, TD (Beathard: 2/2, 34 yards)

Both QBs have had success in the fourth quarter. Beathard was spectacular in the go-ahead drive against Pitt, and Rudock had a couple of magical drives trying to come back against Wisconsin and led 2 scoring drives before falling just short to Maryland. The big sore spot is the pick-six against Maryland that put Iowa is a bad situation. The couple of empty drives against Nebraska also hurt.

But if Iowa's in need of a clutch drive on Friday, I'm going with Rudock. If you're Kirk Ferentz, what would you do?