ANN ARBOR, Mich.–Michigan passing game coordinator Jedd Fisch likes his quarterback, Jake Rudock.
Very much, actually.
Just ask Fisch about the senior transfer from Iowa, and he’ll tell you that Rudock’s maturity and level attitude have helped the Wolverines find their way through the first six games of the year.
On Saturday, Rudock will face one of his biggest challenges of the season when his No. 12-Wolverines (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) collide with the No. 7-ranked Michigan State Spartans (6-0, 2-0 B1G) at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
In Week 1, Rudock threw three interceptions during a 24-17 loss to the Utah Utes, who are now among the country’s best teams. However, since then, he has taken stronger control of the offense while leading the Wolverines to five straight wins.
On Monday, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said that Rudock couldn’t be rattled. On Wednesday, Fisch wholeheartedly agreed. In fact, he went one step further while explaining why Rudock is just so calm and confident.
“He has great poise and he’s under control–he really doesn’t worry about much at all,” said Fisch, who later added “No matter how hard or how difficult I am with him, it does not bother him…”
Rudock may not be the flashiest guy around, but he’s certainly done enough to warrant attention. Because of his ball security, the Wolverines have enjoyed a three-game stretch of great effectiveness on offense. Rudock has thrown just one interception during this past 12 quarters of play, and that one–intended for fullback Sione Houma versus Maryland–wasn’t really his fault.
Rudock must continue his steady approach if the Wolverines hope to get their first win versus Michigan State since 2012. Michigan has lost six of the past eight meetings. The past two have been especially difficult for Wolverines quarterbacks: Devin Gardner was sacked six times during a 29-6 loss in 2013 and hit–not technically sacked–just as many times during a 35-11 loss in 2014.
But Harbaugh is confident in Rudock’s ability to get the job done this weekend. It’s important to have a collected leader during rivalry situations.
“Very important–I think we have that,” Harbaugh said during Monday’s press conference. “He’s playing his best football and preparing consistently good each and every week. Doesn’t get rattled. We talked about that. We’ve come to expect that.”
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