COLLEGE PARK -- So you face a quarterback at home one year and beat his team, then a year passes and you’re set to play him again -- on a different team.
It’s the unusual situation that Maryland will face Saturday when former Iowa quarterback and now Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock leads the No. 23 Wolverines into College Park for an 8 p.m. kickoff.
The way that transfer rules work, especially within the conference, makes a case like Rudock’s unique. After having graduated from Iowa, Rudock was free to transfer to any school and play immediately, just like Maryland linebacker Jefferson Ashiru has done this season.
But there is a catch within the conference. An explanation from MLive.com:
Under the current Big Ten intra-conference transfer rule, there is no exception outlined for a student-athlete wishing to compete immediately as a graduate transfer. The rule calls for all players who signed scholarship players with another member institution to sit out a year before competing again at a different member school.
So Rudock had to petition the conference to allow him to play. He won and he has been Michigan’s starter since their opener against Utah.
“That’s probably a first for me,” Maryland defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski said of facing Rudock back-to-back years in different uniforms. “We saw him live and in color last year. We got a good feel for what he can do. He’s very comfortable in that offensive style. He’s efficient throwing the ball, doesn’t panic in the pocket. He’s playing with a lot of confidence.”
Last season against Maryland, a heavily pressured Rudock completed 32-of-56 passes for 317 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.
He won’t be throwing the ball 56 times this year. And that’s not just because there is a hurricane bearing down on the East Coast. Michigan has found success running the football and there’s no reason to stray from that against this Maryland defense.
So in those limited looks through the air, Maryland needs to capitalize. Other teams have in the past, including Utah. The Utes forced three Rudock interceptions on their way to a narrow victory.
“He’s very cautious with the ball and I think their offense is helping him do that,” sophomore linebacker Jermaine Carter said. “How they’re trying to control the game, run the ball and little short throws.
“So that’s a big thing. We’ve got to go out there and cause some turnovers.”
Turnovers give Maryland the ball back and having the ball bleeds time, which may be the difference on a drenched field Saturday at Byrd Stadium.