At his pre-UNI press conference, Kirk Ferentz also addresses the play of Michael Ojemudia and Matt Hankins, and his revolving linebackers. Chad Leistikow, Hawk Central
IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa will be without its hyphenated duo Saturday.
Running back Ivory Kelly-Martin (ankle) and wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (shoulder) won’t play against Northern Iowa. Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday that he didn’t think either would be available. Neither player went through pregame warmups.
Cole Banwart is also out with a lower leg injury. Redshirt senior Dalton Ferguson will start at right guard.
This is Kelly-Martin’s second straight absence after exiting in the fourth quarter of Iowa’s season-opening win over Northern Illinois. Smith-Marsette injured his shoulder last week against Iowa State, landing hard on it following a 45-yard reception.
With an FCS team in town and Wisconsin on deck, it makes sense to rest two guys on the fence health-wise. An off week for both could make the difference in whether Kelly-Martin and Smith-Marsette return for the Badgers.
Look for Iowa to lean on Toren Young and Mekhi Sargent again in the backfield, and more responsibility to fall on receivers Brandon Smith, Nick Easley and Kyle Groeneweg.
Groeneweg will return kicks in Smith-Marsette's place.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.