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Will Iowa Ride the Hot Hand with C.J. Beathard at Quarterback?

Kirk Ferentz

Kirk Ferentz

For a coach who got a sorely needed spark on offense, Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz doesn’t seem excited.

After a 24-20 win over Pittsburgh, Ferentz will head back to Iowa where fans likely will expect him to make a permanent quarterback change after C.J. Beathard led three scoring drives in the comeback win.

Ferentz, it seems, is greeting such expectations with an eye roll.

Iowa showed a more aggressive offensive approach in the first half against Pitt, but starter Jake Rudock was able to capitalize on the scoreboard just once. An injury at the end of the first half gave Beathard to lead the best version of the Iowa offense so far this season.

Rudock, who sustained an injury to what was termed the hip area, may be able to practice, putting Iowa in position for a rare in-season quarterback competition.

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The last time Iowa made a quarterback change midseason was in 2008 when Ricky Stanzi beat out Jake Christensen.

Given the way Iowa moved the ball under Beathard in a game that re-energized Iowa’s season, the sophomore from Franklin, Tenn., will be the people’s favorite after he was able to take advantage of a more aggressive approach by coordinator Greg Davis.

Under Rudock, Iowa took shots down the field but converted on just one long pass play. And on fourth-and-2 from the Pittsburgh 13, the Hawkeyes shed their trademark conservatism and went for the first down. They got a touchdown.

But the offense truly flourished in the second half under Beathard. A 62-yard one-handed over-the-shoulder catch by Damond Powell for the rare explosive passing play for the Hawkeyes this season.

Iowa entered the game with two plays from scrimmage for 40 or more yards. The Hawkeyes doubled it in this game with the Powell catch and a Rudock pass for 44 yards in the first quarter.

That one long play, though, wasn’t enough. Rudock finished 5-of-10 for 80 yards with an interception. Beathard came in to finish 7-of-8 for 98 yards, not overwhelming numbers, but plenty efficient for the win.

The question is if it’s enough for Ferentz to continue with the hot hand.