Iowa’s Ihmir Smith-Marsette took his second kickoff return of the season to the house and scored touchdowns three different ways in the team’s 49-24 victory over the USC Trojans in the 2019 SDCCU Holiday Bowl. Along with Holiday Bowl Defensive MVP A.J. Epenesa’s 2.5 quarterback sacks, the Hawkeyes went on a 21-0 run to end the contest.
Iowa's Ihmir Smith-Marsette (No. 6 seen spinning on USC's Isaiah Pola-Mao) finished fifth nationally in kickoff returns this past season (29.6 yd/avg, 2 TDs). His 2019 Holiday Bowl Offensive MVP performance featured three touchdowns (KR, REC, RUSH) and nearly a fourth on a near touchdown pass.
It was Epenesa's superior technique, however, that ultimately proved to be the difference in the much-anticipated matchup between the two all-conference performers. On this repetition, Epenesa uses an outside arm over and pull-through maneuver to cross Jackson's feet.
The Iowa Hawkeyes also have two offensive tackle prospects that will be playing on Sundays. Right tackle Tristan Wirfs' (No. 74 seen pictured blocking USC sophomore linebacker Kana'i Mauga, No. 26 pictured) power was evident for much of the night. He was effective pulling in space and displayed agility on outside reach blocks in their variety of offensive run schemes.