- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa began the day with a quarterback controversy.

The Hawkeyes closed it with their biggest win of the season and, quite possibly, their starter for the foreseeable future.

Jake Rudock threw for 210 yards and two touchdowns and Iowa rolled past Indiana 45-29 on Saturday for its third straight win.

Mark Weisman had a pair of short TD runs for the Hawkeyes (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten), who scored all but seven of their points in the first half.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz insisted for two weeks that the Hawkeyes would rotate Rudock and C.J. Beathard in an effort to jumpstart its offense.

Rudock forced the coaching staff’s hand though, completing 19 of 27 passes and helping Iowa to its highest-scoring half in nine years.

Beathard led a scoring drive in the fourth quarter, but he finished just 2 of 5 for 9 yards.

“You play things by feel,” Ferentz said. “Nothing has really changed. We like both guys.”

But it was Rudock who led Iowa to its best start under Ferentz, now in his 16th season with the Hawkeyes.

Iowa scored 28 points in the first quarter - surpassing its total in each of its first four games against Power 5 schools - and led by as much as 21.

Indiana quickly pulled within 28-21. But Weisman closed the first half on a 1-yard TD run to give Iowa a 38-21 lead and match their 38-point first half against Minnesota in 2005.

Tevin Coleman had 219 yards rushing for Indiana (3-3, 0-2), including TD runs of 83, 69 and 45 yards. He also became the first Indiana player with 1,000 yards rushing since Levron Williams in 2001.

But Hoosiers quarterback Nate Sudfeld left with “some degree of separation” in his non-throwing shoulder in the first half and didn’t return.

“He got landed on and just kind of came down on it hard,” Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. It’s “something we’ll evaluate more when we get back.”

But even Rudock’s performance was overshadowed by one of the wackier first halves in Iowa history.

Iowa had neither scored nor allowed more than 24 points in a matchup with a fellow Power 5 school all season.

But the Hawkeyes and Hoosiers combined for seven touchdowns - including three one-play drives - in less than 20 minutes.

Rudock opened the scoring with a 12-yard TD pass to Jake Duzey. Iowa’s Desmond King took his first career interception back 35 yards for a touchdown, putting Iowa up by 14 just 64 seconds later.

Rudock then silenced critics who questioned his ability to throw the long ball, finding Damond Powell for a 72-yard TD and a 21-0 lead.

“I told them afterward that I’ve got enough room to sit back there and sip a cup of tea,” Rudock said.

The feeling was short-lived.

Coleman slipped through a few blocks and bolted 83 yards for a touchdown, the longest of his career. Iowa answered with a 60-yard sweep from Jonathan Parker to make it 28-7.

Sudfeld responded with a 62-yard pass to Shane Wynn, and Nick Stoner’s 13-yard TD grab pulled Indiana within 28-14.

Sudfeld’s subsequent departure didn’t matter much at first.

Coleman ran for a 45-yard touchdown on freshman quarterback Chris Covington’s first snap.

But Covington only made the switch from linebacker to quarterback in preseason camp, and the Hawkeyes soon realized that they didn’t need to worry about him beating them with his arm.

Covington finished just 3 of 12 passing for 31 yards and two picks, including a Jordan Lomax interception with 1:16 left that sealed it for Iowa.

“Iowa played very well, that’s a good win for them. They had a couple of opportunities to make big plays early and they made them. We kind of had to play uphill,” Wilson said.

The Hawkeyes are now tied with atop the Big Ten with Minnesota.

Beathard could see action in next week’s game at Maryland. But it sure looked like Rudock solidified his hold on the starting job.

“A little bit of an unusual football game. Different than what we’re used to being in, especially in the first half,” Ferentz said. “But we weathered the storm and guys did a lot of good things.”

___

Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

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