The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

October 24, 2013

Iowa finds success with TEs

IOWA CITY — Iowa is as deep at tight end as any other position group on its roster.

The Hawkeyes exploited that advantage quite a bit against Ohio State — and wound up with one of their best passing efforts of the season.

Jake Rudock threw for 245 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, including one each to tight ends C.J. Fiedorowicz and Jake Duzey, in a 34-24 road loss to the fourth-ranked Buckeyes.

The Hawkeyes (4-3, 1-2 Big Ten) used a significant number of sets against Ohio State that featured three tight ends, and 11 of Rudock’s 19 completions went to Fiedorowicz, Duzey and George Kittle.

That’s a trend that could continue when Iowa plays host to Northwestern (4-3, 0-3) on Saturday.

“We’ll keep it in our repertoire,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “It’s a group that we feel comfortable with. It’s no big secret. Certainly in the spring we felt pretty good about our tight ends, and they continue to work hard and improve. So, we’ll utilize that group if it fits.”

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Iowa’s push toward using multiple tight ends was the emergence of Duzey.

Duzey caught almost as many passes against the Buckeyes as he had in his entire career to that point.

Duzey, a sophomore from Troy, Mich., had a team-high six receptions, including an 85-yard touchdown off a short pass from Rudock that tied it at 24 late in the third quarter.

Duzey finished with 138 yards, the most for an Iowa tight end in 15 seasons under Ferentz. That’s quite a milestone considering that current NFL players Dallas Clark, Scott Chandler and Brandon Myers never had that many yards for the Hawkeyes.

“It wasn’t shocking that he had that kind of day,” Ferentz said of Duzey’s breakout performance. “The best part about it is that hopefully it will give him confidence, and that’s what younger guys usually lack.”

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