Charlie Jones' kickoff return TD sparks Iowa football against Illinois: 'Mama, there goes that man!'

Adam Hensley
Hawk Central

Moments after an Iowa special teams miscue gifted Illinois with great field position, Charlie Jones and the Hawkeye kick return group responded. 

A bad snap on a punt led to prime real estate for the Illini. Illinois scored on a field goal, extending its lead to 10-0 early in the first quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, however, Iowa's special teams made history. Weaving through would-be tacklers, Jones took the kickoff and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown — which tied for the longest kick return touchdown in Hawkeye history.

Jones' touchdown sparked 14 straight Hawkeye points, as Arland Bruce IV scored on a run early in the second quarter, giving Iowa a 14-10 lead.

Saturday marked Iowa's first kickoff return touchdown since Ihmir Smith-Marsette took one to the house against USC in the 2019 Holiday Bowl.

Jones' score marked the fourth 100-yard kickoff return in school history, joining C.J. Jones (2003), Joe Williams (1961), and George Rice (1951).

Iowa football fans love Charlie Jones' kickoff return touchdown vs. Illinois

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Adam Hensley is a digital producer with the USA Today Network. You can follow him on Twitter @A_Hens83 or reach him at