IOWA CITY — It appears the Iowa football team could very well be at full strength for its Big Ten Conference opener Saturday against Wisconsin.
Hawkeyes Coach Kirk Ferentz said at his weekly press conference that injured running back Ivory Kelly-Martin, wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette and guard Cole Banwart all practiced Tuesday morning. Kelly-Martin (ankle) was hurt in Iowa’s season opener three weeks ago against Northern Illinois, while Smith-Marsette (shoulder) was injured two weeks ago against Iowa State.
All three guys sat out last week’s 38-14 win over Northern Iowa.
“Today was our first real work day (of the week), and they were able to work,” Ferentz said Tuesday. “We’ll see how sore they are tomorrow. They all have a chance to be ready for the game.”
Kelly-Martin has 16 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown, Smith-Marsette has four catches for 73 yards. Banwart was replaced in the starting lineup last week at right guard by Dalton Ferguson, though Levi Paulsen saw an equal amount of snaps.
Kampman named to ANF Wall of Honor
Former Iowa defensive lineman Aaron Kampman was announced as this year’s inductee to the “America Needs Farmers” Wall of Honor. Kampman, who played 10 years in the NFL, was introduced following Ferentz’s press conference by Iowa Farm Bureau president Craig Hill.
“This is exciting for me and my family,” said Kampman, who prepped at Aplington-Parkersburg and lives in Solon with his wife and their three sons. “The ANF sticker represents what is best about Iowa.”
This will be the second time in three weeks Iowa’s defense will face a dynamic running back. Iowa State’s David Montgomery was held to 44 yards on 17 carries in the Hawks’ 13-3 win. This week, Wisconsin sophomore Jonathan Taylor is the task. He is second in the country in rushing through three games, averaging 171.7 yards per game.
“We just played an outstanding running back two weeks ago,” Ferentz said. “I mentioned he might be the best in the country. If he’s not, it might be the one we’re playing this week. This guy (Taylor) is just a tremendous football player, too. It’s unusual when you play two guys of this caliber within a two-week span. That’s what we’re facing. They’re not the same exact runner, but I can’t imagine many guys in the country better than either of these guys.”
True freshman wide receiver Tyrone Tracy Jr. got into last week’s game late and caught a pass in traffic for 22 yards and a first down. Ferentz was asked if that indicated the Indianapolis native and Indiana Gatorade Player of the Year in the last year might be in the team’s plans moving forward, or if it simply was an opportunity to get him playing time.
This year, of course, freshmen can play in four games and still redshirt.
“He’s done some good things, and we’re a little thin (at receiver),” Ferentz said. “We didn’t want to get somebody at that point in the game knocked out for a couple weeks here. We wanted to give him a chance. We were able to do it free, which was great. He actually made a play, which was better. Got up after he was nailed. That was good to see.”
Saturday’s Big Ten opener against Wisconsin is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff and will be televised by Fox. The announcers will be Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt and Jenny Taft.
Ferentz said game captains for Iowa will be defensive end Parker Hesse, center Keegan Render, quarerback Nate Stanley and fullback Brady Ross.
Playing against the home state
Iowa has three starters from the state of Wisconsin in quarterback Nate Stanley, running back Toren Young and weakside linebacker Kristian Welch.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin has one Iowan on its roster in outside linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel. The senior from Rock Valley played as a freshman for the University of South Dakota, transferred to Iowa Western Community College, then Wisconsin last year.
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