Iowa senior finishes with 174 catches
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The game was not on the line. Tennessee had already taken care of that. But Iowa wide receiver Kevonte Martin-Manley was a bundle of nerves.
He tied Iowa's record for career receptions with a pair of catches in the second quarter, giving him 173. He passed Derrell Johnson-Koulianos with No. 174 late in the fourth quarter of Friday's 45-28 loss to the Volunteers in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
"The tension was crazy, man," Martin-Manley said. "It was a lot of tension, to be honest. I was so relieved once I got it. It was a weight off my shoulders."
Martin-Manley, whose 1,799 receiving yards rank 13th in school history, said the record is gratifying because of his path to Iowa.
"The record means a lot, because I wasn't highly recruited," said Martin-Manley, a fifth-year senior from Pontiac, Mich. "A lot of people doubted I could play at this level. For me to come to this university and accomplish something like this, I'll cherish it forever."
After making his record-setting catch, on a pass from quarterback C.J. Beathard that gained 8 yards on his team's second-to-last possession, Martin-Manley threw the ball across the field to the Iowa bench. It will be a lifetime keepsake.
"I think I'm going to keep that one," Martin-Manley said. "It will always be something special."