IOWA CITY — Iowa went 1-for-3 on slivers of daylight for injury news Monday.
Sunday night, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz told UI media that running back Ivory Kelly-Martin, wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette and guard Cole Banwart could return.
“I think all of those guys realistically have a chance to go on Tuesday, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope they can keep progressing the way we anticipate,” Ferentz said.
Monday, only Smith-Marsette was listed on the depth chart released for this weekend’s Big Ten opener against Wisconsin (2-1) (7:30 p.m. Saturday, Fox).
Kelly-Martin rushed for 62 yards and a TD on 16 carries in the opener against Northern Illinois, but suffered an ankle injury. He hasn’t played since. Banwart was a late scratch for last week’s Northern Iowa game.
Running backs Toren Young and Mekhi Sargent have split running back duties. They’ve combined for 371 yards and five TDs, including a pair for Sargent in Iowa’s 38-14 win over Northern Iowa last week.
“I think Toren and Mekhi especially are really starting to warm up a little bit and we’re going to need both those guys, hopefully we’ll get Ivory back here at some point, sooner than later, but I thought both of them ran tough and ran hard,” Ferentz said Saturday night.
Senior Dalton Ferguson started for Banwart. Junior Levi Paulsen also rotated in quite a bit. They split snaps for the game at about 50/50. This is three games for the Hawkeyes (3-0) and it’s the third O-line starting lineup.
“I think they got a chance, but we’ll probably know more when I see you on Tuesday, have a chance to see what they can do Monday,” Ferentz said Saturday night. “They’re not ruled out right now and I don’t know how close they are. I don’t think they’re that far away.”
— Something to keep in mind: Tight end Noah Fant took a shot to the ribs in the first half against Northern Iowa. He returned to the game. He talked a little about the injury in his postgame, and he said he thought he would be fine.
Still, Fant played 31 snaps, about 25 fewer than fellow tight end T.J. Hockenson.
— The Iowa staff did some severe throttling of snaps for the defense vs. UNI. Ends Parker Hesse and Anthony Nelson saw just 16 and 21 snaps, respectively. Senior tackle Sam Brincks also had just 18.
Sophomore ends A.J. Epenesa and Chauncey Golston played 48 and 42 snaps, respectively.
Golston recorded four of Iowa’s 14 QB hurries. Tackle Brady Reiff had three.
Five Big Ten teams remain undefeated. Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State are 3-0. The Hoosiers are 3-0 for the first time since 2015. The Hawkeyes and Gophers are 3-0 for the third time in four seasons.
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