Iowa football turns to running backs in the passing game

Ivory Kelly-Martin proved to be a pivotal member of Iowa’s receiving core against Minnesota, securing 2 catches for 40 yards.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa running back Ivory Kelly-Martin carries the ball during Iowa’s game against Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. The Hawkeyes defeated the Golden Gophers 48-31.

Adam Hensley, Pregame Editor

In Iowa’s 48-31 victory over Minnesota on Oct. 6 in Minneapolis, quarterback Nate Stanley completed two passes to running back Ivory Kelly-Martin.

He totaled 40 yards on his 2 catches, and more importantly, Iowa scored touchdowns on both drives.

So Iowa might want to use Kelly-Martin in the passing game, especially when things aren’t opening up on the ground.

“It goes back to Coach Brian [Ferentz] — he does a great job game-planning,” Stanley said. “Ivory had a big catch running down the sideline, and I think there were some more opportunities where, if I could have gotten to the second and third read a little quicker, we could have dropped it down to him first — [he] did a great job and took advantage of the opportunities that were there.”

Kelly-Martin’s first reception came on the Hawkeyes’ opening possession. The sophomore hauled in a 15-yard catch on third and 7. Two plays later, Iowa scored its first touchdown of the game and its first points on an opening drive all season.

Kelly-Martin’s second catch came on Iowa’s quickest scoring drive of the game. He leaked out of the backfield to the flat, and, with a linebacker thinking he had a free run for a sack, Stanley tossed the ball to his left, and Kelly-Martin was uncovered, charging down field for a 25-yard gain. Once again, this play came on third and 7.

Stanley looked his way on critical plays, which is a great sign. Kelly-Martin also gives Stanley yet another target in the passing game; against Minnesota, Stanley connected with six Hawkeyes, leaving the Gopher defense scrambling.

Hockaday injury update

Iowa starting middle linebacker Jack Hockaday injured his left knee against Minnesota and did not return to the game.

On Sunday, head coach Kirk Ferentz told some positive news regarding Hockaday’s injury.

“The good news is, based on what we saw today in testing, Jack should be back,” he said. “I don’t know if it will be this week, I’m not optimistic there, but he should be back in the near future. That is important for any player, especially for a senior. Jack has done a nice job.”

Iowa needs help at middle linebacker, especially now that Amani Jones will miss the first half of Iowa’s contest with Indiana on Saturday thanks to a targeting penalty late in the win over Minnesota.

Hawkeyes release depth chart for Indiana

For the second week in a row, freshman cornerbacks Julius Brents and Riley Moss are listed as Iowa’s starters ahead of Matt Hankins and Michael Ojemudia.

The linebackers saw another shakeup thanks to Hockaday’s and Nick Niemann’s injuries and Jones’ first-half suspension.

Defensive coordinator Phil Parker will roll with his fifth different linebacker combination in six games, starting Barrington Wade at outside linebacker, Kristian Welch at middle, and Djimon Colbert at weak side. Jones and Dillon Doyle are both listed as alternates for the secondary middle linebacker position.

Welch is also listed as Iowa’s backup weak side linebacker behind Colbert. 

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