By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Ihmir Smith-Marsette became the second player in Iowa football history to score a rushing, receiving and kick return touchdown in the same game in last year’s 49-24 Holiday Bowl win over Southern Cal.
According to Smith-Marsette, his Holiday Bowl performance may be a glimpse into what the 2020 season has in store for him, and the Hawkeye offense as a whole.
“That’s the plan,” Smith-Marsette said. “Go out there, whatever is dialed up, whenever my number is called that’s my plan is to go out there and execute to the full extent. I hope that’s the jump start for the possibility of something big this year.”
On his way to accumulating 203 all-purpose yards in the Holiday Bowl, most of which resulted from a 98-yard kick return touchdown in the second quarter, the 6-foot-1, 179-pound Smith-Marsette also nearly threw a touchdown pass to Brandon Smith.
Iowa’s dynamic potential on offense was a hot topic during the team’s three-day media day event last week.
At receiver, Iowa returns Smith, Smith-Marsette, sophomores Tyrone Tracy and Nico Ragaini, and Charlie Jones, who sat out last season after transferring from Buffalo, also has gained buzz during the offseason.
That’s 163 receptions, 2,189 yards and 15 touchdowns from last season at the disposal of offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz.
Ferentz said Thursday that the Holiday Bowl performance caused him to rethink some things, especially with regard to the use of receivers in the running game.
“In my mind, I had to make an evolution,” Brian Ferentz said. “They were always secondary plays in my mind. They protect the inside runs. That’s how I envisioned it my entire career. I’m not sure I see it the same way anymore.
“I think we have very capable ball handlers that can make plays in space like that. So, I do think that needs to be a bigger part of our offense going forward.”
The Hawkeyes also have running backs Tyler Goodson, Ivory Kelly-Martin and Mekhi Sargent in the backfield, all of whom have played significant snaps during their careers.
The only real question mark is sophomore quarterback Spencer Petras, who enters his first year as a starter after backing up Nate Stanley in 2019.
But, according to Smith-Marsette, the sky is the limit for the Iowa offense.
“Me, personally, I wouldn’t put a ceiling on this offense only because of so many key factors that can go out there and contribute,” Smith-Marsette said. “A lot of explosive guys, a lot of talent all around, a lot of playmakers. So, I wouldn’t put a ceiling on this offense.”