Iowa State and Iowa played in a thriller on Saturday. Although things did not turn out well for Iowa State in the end. There were three things that stood out to me that certainly make me excited for the rest of the season.
Marcel Spears Jr. is Iowa State’s best linebacker
Make no mistake, Marcel Spears Jr. was an unknown coming into this season. So far, he has exceeded every expectation of him. He has quickly become Iowa State’s best linebacker to date, and is showing no signs of stopping.
Spears had a career game on Saturday. Wrapping up 17 total tackles, 1.5 for loss and a forced fumble. The biggest impact from him that stood out was when Iowa State cut Iowa’s lead to 21-17. The defense forced a 3-and-out and Spears recorded every tackle on the drive.
Spears’ style translates better to the Big 12, which will certainly be fun to watch. Keep an eye on Spears the rest of the way.
David Montgomery proving to be an NFL caliber running back
David Montgomery balled out once again. His performance against UNI was impressive. Against Iowa? Dominant. Time and time again, Montgomery slashed his way through the Hawkeye defense. He finished the game with 20 carries and 112 yards and one touchdown. He also had four receptions for 53 yards.
Before the game even started Montgomery was drawing comparison’s to Kansas City running back Kareem Hunt, whom Matt Campbell coached at Toledo. I would say he is backing up those comparisons right now. Below you will find a tweet with an example of Montgomery’s vision. Which appears to be at NFL level already.
Let's kick this NFL Sunday off right... by going back to 12pm yesterday and watching David Montgomery lay waste to Iowa's D. (Thread) pic.twitter.com/W1G0zYS9gs— Ben Stockwell (@PFF_Ben) September 10, 2017
“We don’t think he is human” Jacob Park told the media after the game. I think CyclONEnation couldn’t agree more.
I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist to know Iowa State had Iowa backed into the corner and couldn’t deliver that knockout blow. That comes with experience in winning. Iowa State is talented, but a lot of their primary starters are young, and with experience comes a winning mentality. The wins are going to come, and the “know how to win” mindset will develop as well.
That said, there will be no moral victories, and I think the stars of this team are letting us know. Iowa State needs to win and they need to do it now.
How Iowa State responds this week against Akron is going to be huge. How you respond to a gut wrenching loss is part of developing that winning mentality. Come out and forget and win is all they need to do to keep this train moving.