So... that was fun, right?
Iowa scored a season-high seven touchdowns in their 49-24 Holiday Bowl win over USC and I can't think of anything better right now than to re-watch all of those glorious touchdowns again and again and again.
1) Tyrone Tracy, Jr. 23-yard touchdown run
Bowl games are an especially good time to dig into the playbook for a few trick plays -- it's the end of the season, so you might as well let it all hang out. And using a few trick plays in this game felt especially appropriate, given Hayden Fry's affinity for "exotics" at Iowa. So Tracy's 23-yard touchdown run on a reverse was satisfying on a few different levels. It was also a brilliantly executed play by everyone involved for Iowa. Gold stars all around.
This was also Iowa's third rushing touchdown of 20+ yards in the last two games. Prior to that, Iowa hadn't had a rushing touchdown of 20+ yards since Mekhi Sargent had a 29-yard rushing score against Illinois last season.
2) Ihmir Smith-Marsette 6-yard touchdown run
The "wide receiver runs for a touchdown" play was so nice, Iowa decided to run it twice. This was Iowa's third rushing touchdown for a receiver in the last two games (Smith-Marsette also had rushing score in the Nebraska game); it's great to see Iowa finding ways to effectively use their speed at the receiver position.
3) Ihmir Smith-Marsette 98-yard kickoff return touchdown
Ihmir's second touchdown of the game came a few minutes later, on a 98-yard kickoff return touchdown after USC had briefly tied the game at 14-14. ISM has been a very effective kick returner for Iowa over the last two years, but he hadn't had a kick return touchdown until the regular season finale against Nebraska. Now he has two return scores in two games! Playmakers make plays and ISM certainly did that in this game.
4) Ihmir Smith-Marsette 12-yard touchdown reception
Speaking of ISM... he completed his touchdown hat trick in the first half (all in the second quarter, no less!) with a more traditional scoring play for him: a reception. The blocking on this screen pass was outstanding and freed up a lane for ISM to shoot into the end zone.
5) Tyler Goodson 1-yard touchdown run
TGOOD CASHES IN pic.twitter.com/DYSzolyMCa— Hayden! (@HeavensFX) December 28, 2019
Set up by...
The ole 8-yd QB sneak from Stanley pic.twitter.com/HSi380ZWsU— Hayden! (@HeavensFX) December 28, 2019
I know it, you know it, we all know it: Nate Stanley scored a TD on that third QB sneak. Everyone but the refs and replay crew knew it, apparently. Alas, it's their opinion that counts, so Nate didn't get his deserved touchdown there. Running three straight QB sneak plays was an unbelievable flex by Brian Ferentz, though, and we are very much here for more of that next season. Goodson getting the TD was a nice reward for the strong work he's put in all season, though.
6) Brandon Smith 6-yard touchdown reception
This touchdown was all about Stanley. He did a great job of moving around the pocket to evade pressure and then did an incredible job of dancing along the line of scrimmage to enable this to be a legal throw. It was great to see Brandon Smith back in action, too.
7) Nick Niemann 25-yard interception return touchdown
The icing on the cake. Iowa had somehow gone the entire season without a defensive touchdown, but Nick Niemann ended that drought late in the fourth quarter. The outcome of the game was no longer in question, but if you can score a touchdown, you should absolutely do it.
Touchdowns, touchdowns, and more touchdowns! Iowa has never scored more touchdowns in a bowl game than they did here (they had 55 points against Texas in the 1984 Freedom Bowl, but that included a pair of field goals). Touchdowns were hard to come by for Iowa for much of the 2019 season, which made it so satisfying to see them flow so frequently in the Holiday Bowl.
If you want to see more Holiday Bowl highlights:
49 points, a season-high for @HawkeyeFootball.— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) December 28, 2019
Second-most points scored in a bowl game in program history.
Ninth bowl win for Kirk Ferentz.
Highlights from tonight's Holiday Bowl win: pic.twitter.com/U52JmGVWLt
And if you just want to focus on ISM highlights:
Ihmir Smith-Marsette tonight against USC: a rushing TD, a receiving TD, and kick return TD.— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) December 28, 2019
Watch the @_ihmirr_ highlights from his offensive MVP performance in the Holiday Bowl: pic.twitter.com/UL6F1Gsf3O