The Wolverine

February 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BY JOHN BORTON J ake Rudock began his one and only Michigan football season surrounded by doubters and nagging questions. He ended it by leading a 10-win team to a 41-7 Citrus Bowl slamming of Florida, accompanied by an outpouring of praise from a head coach who knows quarterbacks. "Jake Rudock was getting hit and throwing passes against corners that were going to be playing in the NFL," Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said. "He's going to be drafted." Rudock also became only the sec- ond quarterback in U-M history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season. The fifth-year senior and graduate transfer from Iowa racked up 3,017 passing yards and 20 touchdowns on a 249-of-389 (64 percent) effort. He threw nine interceptions on the season, and only three over the final eight games. The imported signal-caller finished his career on a scorching streak with his arm: 337 passing yards and two touchdowns against Rutgers; 440 passing yards and six touchdowns at Indiana; 256 passing yards and two touchdowns at Penn State; 263 passing yards and one touchdown versus Ohio State; and 278 passing yards with three touchdowns in the finale against Florida to become MVP of the Citrus Bowl. The honorable mention All-Big Ten quarterback can add one more plau- dit from a season in Ann Arbor: he's No. 1 on The Wolverine's annual top- 25 postseason list of Michigan's best performers. It's based on whom U-M can least afford to do without in any given season, and Rudock filled that bill perfectly. Here's a look at the top 25, voted on by the staff of The Wolverine, and how they fared over the first year of the Harbaugh era at Michigan. 1. JAKE RUDOCK Fifth-Year Senior, QB Rudock began 2015 with a consid- erable jolt to the ego. He got pulled from Iowa's 45-28 TaxSlayer Bowl loss to Tennessee, despite throwing for 2,436 yards and 16 touchdowns, with only five interceptions, on the season. Soon after the year ended, Iowa came out with an unprecedented post-bowl depth chart that made it clear Rudock wasn't the Hawkeyes' No. 1 quarterback going into spring ball. He began looking around for somewhere to land in his fifth year of football and found the perfect spot under the tutelage of Harbaugh and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch. Quarter Horses Quarterback Jake Rudock Rises To No. 1 In Top 25

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