Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/19/13
This will be the first in a series of articles examining the matchups of the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1 between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the no. 16 LSU Tigers.   The Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) will have one important advantage when it faces the no. 16 LSU Tigers (9-4, 5-3 SEC) in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, a healthy quarterback. LSU’s Zach Mettenberger tore his left ACL and sprained his MCL during the Tigers 31-27 win over Arkansas on Nov. 29. Back-up quarterback Anthony Jennings is set to start for the Tigers in the Outback Bowl. This is a huge blow to head coach Les Miles and the LSU offense because Mettenberger had an exceptional year, throwing for over 3,000 yards and 22 touchdowns. While his NFL draft stock won’t decrease much, LSU’s chances of beating Iowa have. Iowa’s Jake Rudock rolled his right knee against Nebraska, but is expected to start against LSU. Rudock took his fair share of hits throughout the year, especially during conference play and most recently when he was knocked out of the Hawkeyes win against the Cornhuskers on Nov. 29. Iowa quarterback Jake Rudock throws game-winning touchdown pass in overtime against Northwestern on Oct. 26, 2013 In Rudock’s first year as Iowa’s starter there were obvious growing pains — he finished the year with 12 interceptions and a mediocre 18 touchdowns. Although the Weston, Fla. native led an offense that at times seemed inept, which early on was far too often, he continued to grow as a Big Ten quarterback. As Rudock became more comfortable under center, he began to display flashes of brilliance. Especially, when he showed his escapability. Iowa is used to quarterbacks who have a more dominant pocket-presence, rather than someone who is more mobile or considered a dual-threat (Hawkeye great Brad Banks is the exception). Rudock isn’t a dual-threat quarterback by any means. When he doesn’t have an open receiver and sees an opening however, he’ll tuck the ball and run with it. He finished the season with five rushing touchdowns — most of which came in the redzone. Rudock played well in his first year as a starter and was able to assist Iowa in redeeming themselves from last years 4-8 debacle. And now they have a chance at validation on Jan. 1 in the Outback Bowl. Iowa will be looking to seize their comeback parade against LSU and are fortunate to have a healthy quarterback that’s ready for the big stage.   For more on the Hawkeyes and their Outback Bowl berth go to the Iowa page on Isportsweb.  
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