Oct 28, 2017; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back David Montgomery (32) escapes the tackle from the TCU Horned Frogs in the second quarter at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
A few months ago, Matt Campbell told me that David Montgomery’s “fumble” in the fourth quarter of the Iowa State’s nail-biting victory over Memphis in the Liberty Bowl was one of the best things that could have happened to his program for the upcoming offseason.
“No. 32 is fired up,” I recall a grinning Campbell boasting to me in his office.
The controversial fumble – Montgomery’s only of the 2017 season – was the first thing I asked about upon bumping into Iowa State’s star running back on Monday morning at the Big 12 media days.
“First off, it was a fumble,” Montgomery said matter-of-factly. “I should have held onto the ball.”
Interesting. Montgomery shoulders all of the blame himself instead of deflecting it onto someone else. That’s admirable and refreshing in 2018.
“I almost cost my team the game,” he said. “It did fire me up for the offseason. I took pride in it. I didn’t cry and whine about it. I’m continuing to work hard now to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
That’s the “culture changer” mentality that Campbell is always raving about when describing Montgomery. It was before he had every played a down at ISU when Campbell knew he had something special.
“We had just had dinner at the south end zone,” Campbell explained. “It was a Friday night and I was like, ‘What are the lights doing on?’ I saw David working and I though, ‘Maybe we have a chance here.’ The next week there were five guys and before you know, you started to become the odd man out if you weren’t doing those things. Guys like Joel (Lanning) and Allen (Lazard) would even tell you that’s what pumped a lot of the life into Iowa State football. It became important to a lot of them. Now if you’re not doing those things, you don’t fit in the culture.”
Just for fun, I asked Montgomery who his favorite running backs were as a kid.
Eric Dickerson and Barry Sanders were his answers.
Keep in mind that Montgomery, who is 21, was born in 1997.
YouTube is an awesome thing.
You won’t be shocked to hear who his favorite player is nowadays: If you guessed former Toledo Rocket Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, you are correct.
Montgomery and Hunt, both Campbell guys, to this day have still not met. Expect that to change in the very near future.