David Montgomery’s heroics not enough in Cy-Hawk OT loss

Sep 9, 2017; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back David Montgomery (32) runs for a first down against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Jack Trice Stadium. The Hawkeyes won 44-41 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

AMES — When Iowa State needed a yard, David Montgomery churned up two.

When they needed a boost, Montgomery delivered, bouncing off and bowling over would-be tacklers en route to the first 100-yard rushing day for a Cyclone back in the Cy-Hawk series since Shontrelle Johnson eclipsed that mark in 2011.

“David’s just a monster,” ISU quarterback Jacob Park said. “We don’t think he’s human.”

But this Saturday would not end like that stirring 44-41 win six years ago. Montgomery’s heroics were simply not enough to stave off two fourth-quarter Iowa rallies from 10 and seven points down, which forced overtime and an eventual gut-wrenching 44-41 overtime win for the road team.

“Very frustrating,” Montgomery said. “But we’ve got to move on from it.”

Montgomery finished with 112 yards on 20 carries. He bounced and bullied his way into the end zone from seven yards out with 11:46 left in regulation to put ISU up 31-21. Jack Trice Stadium was rocking — until Iowa scored 10 points in the next six and a half minutes.

“What’s frustrating (is) we were so close and as a defense we let up so many long drives,” senior linebacker Joel Lanning said. “There’s no reason for it. Obviously we showed we can get three and outs. We came right out of halftime and stopped them. So I don’t know what our situation was. Like coach even said, ‘We’re winning first and second down,’ and then it’s third and longs and we let up long runs, or long passes for whatever reason. It’s one of those deals where we just come back tomorrow, look at the film, fix it and start preparing (for Akron).”

The Hawkeyes (2-0) extended their win streak in the series to three straight. Even after Iowa tied the game with 5:16 left, the Cyclones (1-1) showed resilience — and explosiveness — immediately. Park connected with Hakeem Butler on a well-practiced, and perfectly-executed 74-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field. In a flash, the Cyclones erected another seven-point lead. In a flash, Iowa erased it, as Akrum Wadley turned a short pass into 46-yard touchdown jaunt with 1:09 left.

ISU settled for overtime after two incomplete passes and a three and out on the ensuing drive.

Iowa sealed the win on Ihmir Smith-Marsette’s five-yard touchdown catch in overtime that sent the Hawkeyes streaming onto the field in celebration.

Butler — a clear standout Saturday with five catches for a career-best 128 yards and two scores — had dropped a possible first down pass on the Cyclones’ only overtime possession. So Garrett Owens kicked a 30-yard field goal. Again, not enough.

“Like we have in the past, we shot ourselves in the foot, something that we can’t do, but it’s the second game of the season, so we’re not too worried,” said senior star receiver Allen Lazard, who caught two touchdown passes as well. “Obviously we’re very disappointed in ourselves, but we’ve just got to bounce back from it because there’s still 10 more games.”

Iowa shined on third and long much of the game. It also stitched together three touchdown drives of 90 yards or more — while still going three and out seven times.

The Hawkeyes converted two long third downs while taking a 14-10 halftime lead, then overcame a third and 15 situation on the drive that cut ISU’s 10-point lead to three.

“I thought at the end of it, they made those different plays at the end of the football game to win the game,” said Cyclones coach Matt Campbell, who fell to 0-2 in Cy-Hawk games. “I think that’s what it really comes down to. Some critical situation moments that they were able to make that play and we didn’t.”

Montgomery did his part. As did Park, Lazard and Butler and many more, including linebacker Marcel Spears, who notched 17 tackles.

But there were several drops — not just Butler’s that gave Iowa a chance to cement the win with an overtime touchdown. Park’s lone interception — right into the hand of Iowa lineman Parker Hesse — set up the field goal that tied the game with 5:16 remaining.

“Again, detail,” Campbell said. “To me, that’s the difference. That’s what wins and loses games — detail wins and loses games. Whether it’s that situation, because those same guys made some incredible plays too. And, at the end of it, if you’re going to win that game (against) a team where it’s even, then you’ve got to be able to make those plays and unfortunately we didn’t.”

No one passed the buck.

“We’ve got more player ownership here,” Montgomery said. “We don’t point fingers. We understand that this is a whole team thing.”

Park completed 25 of 46 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns. ISU committed just two penalties to Iowa’s 10. Details. Some nailed, some missing. It’s the ratio that matters — and it’s why the Cyclones have lost eight of their past nine games decided by seven points or less since the 2015 season.

“The feeling in my heart right now — it hurts,” Butler said. “We’ve just got to bring it next week and get a different outcome.”


Rob Gray


Rob, an Ames native, joined Cyclone Fanatic in August, 2014 after nearly a decade and a half of working at Iowa's two largest newspapers. He spent 10 years at the Des Moines Register and, after a brief stint in public relations, joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette as an Iowa State correspondent three years ago. Rob specializes in feature stories for CF.

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