IOWA CITY — Interception, check. Quarterback injured, check. Turnover turns into a touchdown, check.
Iowa’s first down from the 1-yard line with 7:48 left in the third quarter was a disaster. You have a long list of things that can go wrong when you snap the ball from your 1, and Iowa checked off all the major disasters in its 28-9 loss to No. 23 Wisconsin on Saturday.
First, quarterback Jake Rudock planted awkwardly and took a shot from outside linebacker Ethan Armstrong. The ball floated and was picked off by defensive back Darius Hillary to set up the Badgers on Iowa’s 20. Before Wisconsin scored on the next play. Rudock limped to the sideline with an injured left knee.
It was Rudock’s last play of the day.
“Jake got twisted around there a little bit, so he’s got a sprain, and it didn’t seem like a good idea to put him back in,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “He could have gone back in, but it didn’t seem smart to put him back in at that point.”
Rudock joined running back Mark Weisman on the sideline. Weisman hasn’t been right since the Michigan State game, when he suffered foot and upper-body injuries. Saturday, Weisman seemed to injure his elbow and finished with nine carries for 21 yards, including just two carries in the second half.
“Mark was nicked up today and couldn’t finish the game,” Ferentz said. Ferentz said both should be back for next week’s game at Purdue (1-7, 0-4 Big Ten).
“I think he’ll [Jake] be fine,” Ferentz said. “I think he and Mark both should be back with us on Tuesday. Jake could have gone back in the game, but it didn’t seem a prudent thing to do at that point.”
Redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard replaced Rudock and completed 4 of 15 for 70 yards with an interception. On the pick, Beathard looked to tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, but threw too low and rocketed the ball off the back of guard Andrew Donnal’s helmet.
“I didn’t really have time to get nervous,” Beathard said. “Jake was being motivational to me and told me to keep the guys going. He was very motivational.”
The wind blew 13 mph out of the northwest on Saturday, so Beathard faced that battle, too, in the fourth quarter, when Wisconsin pulled ahead with two TDs set up by the interceptions. Meanwhile, Iowa generated 78 yards total offense.
After Weisman went out, junior Damon Bullock was the next running back. He was ineffective, gaining 6 yards on six carries. True freshman LeShun Daniels was tried and he finished with 14 yards on four carries.
Up until he broke off a 43-yarder that eventually set up a field goal in the third quarter, Jordan Canzeri hadn’t had a carry in three games. He led Iowa with 58 yards on five carries.
“I’m on the sideline ready to go if my name gets called,” said Canzeri, whose 43-yarder was a career long. “Anything I can do to help the team, I’m there.”
Canzeri at least planted a flag for himself against Wisconsin. Next week it’ll probably be another scramble for the hot hand.
“It’s hard to get four backs in the game, really hard,” Ferentz said. “Maybe some people are doing it, I’m not sure they are. . . . The other thought was there to just maybe give Jordan a chance to give us a spark, which he did, he made a really nice run, and hopefully we can get him integrated, but it’s tough when you’ve got four guys.”