Most impressive first-year Big Ten quarterback?

It hasn’t been a great year for Big Ten quarterbacks. Returning stars Braxton Miller, Taylor Martinez and Kain Colter have missed extended periods due to injury, while Devin Gardner has been inconsistent and turnover-prone. Luckily, for the conference, a few first-year starters have exceeded expectations.

Guys like Indiana’s Nate Sudfeld, Iowa’s Jake Rudock and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg all are in the midst of strong seasons.

Which one has been the most impressive, though? It has to be Rudock.

Look, we weren’t sure who would start for Indiana at the beginning of the season, but we knew the winner of the still-ongoing derby would compile gaudy numbers. As for Hackenberg, everyone knew about his credentials and the weapons he inherited (Allen Robinson, Jesse James and Kyle Carter).

Rudock? Nobody knew anything about this kid prior to kickoff. Not only that, he was taking over an offense that struggled, to put it politely, in Greg Davis’ first season as offensive coordinator. Things were so inept last season, James Vandenberg threw seven touchdown passes. Yes, seven!

Rudock surpassed Vandenberg’s touchdown total in six games, and he currently sits at 11. He’s also added five rushing scores, for good measure.

Few, if any, pegged Rudock to have this much success. Not from a guy who had never taken a snap and who inherited an offense that was an absolute dud last year. Well, he’s gotten it done, and he has Iowa fans excited about the future.

See Rudock’s 2013 numbers:

Passing Rushing
Date Opp Cmp Att Yds Pct TDs Int Long Car Yds Avg TDs Long
8/31/2013 NIU 21 37 256 56.8 1 2 53 4 20 5.0 1 9
9/7/2013 MoStU 19 28 193 67.9 0 1 47 7 33 4.7 2 14
9/14/2013 @ IaSt 14 23 160 60.9 2 0 26 8 10 1.3 1 7
9/21/2013 WestMi 10 15 134 66.7 2 0 29 4 30 7.5 0 31
9/28/2013 @ Minn 15 25 218 60.0 1 1 74 5 35 7.0 1 22
10/5/2013 MSU 26 46 241 56.5 2 2 47 3 11 3.7 0 7
10/19/2013 @ OhioSt 19 34 245 55.9 3 1 85 3 8 2.7 0 3

Here’s what Big Ten fans said on Twitter:

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