"He'll start his last game unless he's in the infirmary on Saturday," Coach Joe Tiller quipped.
After sitting out the majority of the three previous games because of a separated shoulder, Painter played four series at Iowa, guiding two touchdown drives, and moving the offense as briskly as it has all season.
"Even if he hasn't improved a lick from last week to this week we'd start him," Tiller said. "He might only play one series, but we'd start him just out of respect of him being a senior. But I hope that he improves enough that we can utilize him more."
Coming in in relief of redshirt freshman Justin Siller, Painter completed 24-of-30 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns, with one tipped interception on a screen pass Tiller said he'd liked to have seen his QB throw in the dirt inside his own 5.
Nevertheless, the performance represented probably Painter's best of this disappointing season.
"Outside of that one play," Tiller said, "I thought he played as well as he's played, quite frankly, since the Motor City Bowl last year. It's hard for him to play much better than he did, I thought, Saturday. He looked like the old Curtis Painter."
Painter wasn't asked to throw the ball down the field much, but he did throw the ball 30 times in Iowa City. It was a relief, then, on Sunday that his shoulder seemed to pass a pretty significant test.
"It was any more sore than it was," Painter said. "So that's good that (the game) didn't make it any worse."
The fifth-year senior was estimated to be about 80-percent healthy,
"Hopefully it can improve this week and get up to at least 90," Painter said.
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