Kevonte Martin-Manley approached Iowa football's holy ground with his return performance. By halftime he notched two punt returns for touchdowns, tying the Big Ten record with Wisconsin's Earl Girard (1947) and Ohio State's Garcia Lane (1983).
Martin-Manley's 184 punt return yards are 17 shy of legendary Nile Kinnick's school record. Martin-Manley had a fair catch in the second half and let another punt go. He wouldn't have done either if he had known how close he was to Kinnick's record. Receivers coach Bobby Kennedy told Martin-Manley about the record in the fourth quarter.
"I was a little salty about it, that I didn't break it, but to even be mentioned in that same breath (as Kinnick), I was really honored and a pleasure for me," Martin-Manley said.
For Western Michigan's final punt, Martin-Manley asked to go in but he was overruled in favor of Riley McCarron.
"That was exactly what I said," Martin-Manley said about pleading to go in, "but (the coaches said) 'We're going to keep your healthy and stay off the field.'"
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz was leery of seeing Martin-Manley break that record.
"With all due respect to Kevonte, I love the guy, he's a great young man, I think it's OK if that one stayed right where it's at."
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