Iowa football: Star receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette suspended after OWI arrest

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

Hours after Iowa's crushing 21-20 football loss to Northwestern, Hawkeyes star wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette was arrested for operating while intoxicated in Iowa City.

Smith-Marsette, 21, was pulled over at 1:27 a.m. at the intersection of Riverside Drive and Myrtle Avenue by Iowa City Police and later jailed. KCJJ Radio in Iowa City first reported the arrest. According to the police report, Smith-Marsette was traveling 74 mph south-bound on Riverside in a 30 mph zone in a white 2017 Chevy Camaro and blew a 0.13% on a blood-alcohol test, which exceeds the 0.08% limit for driving with impairment. Officer Brad Reinhard, in the report, observed that Smith-Marsette "had blood-shot, watery eyes and smelled of alcohol" and admitted to drinking.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette had seven catches for 84 yards in Iowa's 21-20 loss to Northwestern and passed Dallas Clark on the school's all-time receiving list.

According the police report, this was Smith-Marsette's first OWI offense.

The incident occurred about seven hours after the Hawkeyes fell to 0-2 for the young 2020 football season. In the loss to Northwestern, Iowa blew a 17-0 lead and failed to score in the second half. Smith-Marsette set a career-high with seven receptions (for 84 yards) in the game.

Later Sunday, head coach Kirk Ferentz said that Smith-Marsette would be suspended for Saturday's 11 a.m. game against Michigan State and that his return to action depends on his completion of the school's code-of-conduct process that includes counseling and other protocols. 

“I was disappointed to learn that Ihmir Smith-Marsette made a number of dangerous and potentially harmful decisions early this morning," Ferentz said in a statement. "First and foremost, I am thankful no one was hurt.

"I spoke with Ihmir this morning, and he was apologetic and disappointed in himself. As a coach and parent, I understand the personal pain that comes with making these types of decisions. These situations can be defining moments for all students. It is my responsibility to hold our players accountable and help them learn and succeed.”

Smith-Marsette, a speedy 6-foot-1 receiver, is one of Iowa's best players and one of the top kickoff returners in Big Ten Conference history. He was the offensive MVP of the 2019 Holiday Bowl after scoring three touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving and one on a kick return. 

Smith-Marsette, a senior, has played in 39 games for the Hawkeyes and has 93 career receptions for 1,384 yards. He has 15 career touchdowns.