1. David Montgomery is Legit
I want to preface this by saying I’m fully aware that Iowa State’s opponent this weekend, Kansas, is terrible. There are 128 teams in FBS football -- Kansas ranks 109th in rushing yards allowed per game and 115th in yards allowed per carry. Suffice it to say, Kansas is very, very, very, very bad at defending the rush.
With that being said, Iowa State did exactly what it needed to do against a poor rush defense: they ran it. A lot. Montgomery had 24 carries for a nice 169 yards. Little-used backup RB Mitchell Harger added 73 yards on eight carries. Both Montgomery and Harger had 7.0 or more yards per carry, which is a great average.
A lot of this was due to solid play from the offensive line. There were holes left and right for the Cyclone running backs all day. To the credit of Montgomery and Harger, both did an exceptional job hitting the right holes and fighting for extra yards. Montgomery especially showed some explosiveness, breaking a few long runs. Although Montgomery didn’t reach the endzone, he set up multiple touchdowns and he’s a bright spot for Cyclone fans going forward.
2. Jacob Park is The Guy
This isn’t exactly new information, but Jacob Park is the better thrower of Iowa State’s two quarterbacks. He showed that again yesterday. Park finished 20/26 for 205 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The interception and one or two of the incompletions weren’t Park’s fault. Allen Lazard had some trouble hauling in passes early on. To his credit, Lazard played great in the second half and finished the game with 10 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown.
But back to Park. Park looked very good against Kansas. He made smart throws, didn’t force it downfield too much, and found his best athletes (Lazard and Deshaunte Jones) for most of his completions. 76% of Iowa State’s receiving yards were gained by Lazard and Jones.
Park made the right reads, found his playmakers, and made accurate throws. That’s all anyone can ask of a quarterback. It’s on the receivers to do a better job of getting open and to haul in passes when they’re thrown, just as it’s on the coaching staff to find and develop talented skill players and linemen to surround Park with the team he needs. We should have two more years of Jacob Park at quarterback, and all signs point towards that being a positive thing for the Cyclones.
3. The Future is Bright
True freshman David Montgomery had 169 yards rushing. True freshman Deshaunte Jones had 48 receiving yards and a touchdown. True freshman Kene Nwangwu had a couple nice kick returns and scored a touchdown on a play that ended up being called back due to penalty. Sophomore Jacob Park had 205 passing yards and two touchdowns. Allen Lazard, one of the better receivers in the nation, has another year left.
Offensive skill players aren’t the only ones with bright futures. Youngsters Julian Good-Jones, Brian Peavy, JaQuan Bailey, and D’Andre Payne all have had nice moment this season, along with several others. Losing Demond Tucker and Jhaustin Thomas won’t be fun, but Campbell’s guys have done a great job stepping in as rookies. If the coaching staff can keep recruiting at a high level, it won’t be long before wins start to follow.