IOWA CITY, Iowa — Former University of Iowa wide receiver Robert Smith will serve as honorary captain when the Hawkeyes entertain Purdue on Saturday on Duke Slater Field at Kinnick Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:33 p.m. (CT) and the Homecoming game will be streamed on Peacock.
Smith played four seasons for head coach Hayden Fry from 1983-86. He caught four receptions in both the 1984 Freedom Bowl and 1986 Rose Bowl. Smith had a team-best 115 receiving yards, including a 49-yard touchdown reception from QB Chuck Long in Iowa’s 55-17 win over Texas in the Freedom Bowl and 44 receiving yards against UCLA in the Rose Bowl.
Smith ranks 26th in Iowa career receiving yards (1,438 yards). He averaged 20.8 yards per catch (69 receptions, 1,438 yards) during his four-year career. Hawkeye senior receiver Nico Ragaini enters Saturday’s game against the Boilermakers with 1,424 receiving yards, 15 yards from surpassing the former Hawkeye. Smith is tied for 41st in program history in scoring with 102 points (17 touchdowns). He returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown in a 31-14 victory over Purdue on Oct. 15, 1983 — the 26th longest punt return for a score in school history.
Smith is in his 21st season as an NCAA Big Ten football official. He has officiated 12 NCAA bowl games, including the 2011 and 2014 BCS National Championship games. Smith, who is also Chair of the National Association of Sports Officials Board of Directors, has a total of 30 years as an official for college football and high school girls and boys basketball. Smith was part of the first all-African American football officiating crew in the history of the Big Ten and any Autonomy Five conference on Oct. 24, 2020 (Michigan at Minnesota).
He received the NFHS Officials Association Official of the Year for boys and girls basketball. Smith was inducted into the Iowa High School Athletic Association Officials Hall of Fame in 2014, and the Iowa Girls Coaches Association Basketball Officials Hall of Fame in 2018.
Smith will accompany the Iowa captains to midfield for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game.