There were no questions as to who would tote the rock for most of the time during the 2017 season for Iowa State. David Montgomery proved to be a workhorse during his freshman season. 2017 came, and he took his game to another level.
Kene Nwangwu suffered an Achilles tendon injury in spring practice, and many were left wondering what the group would look like behind Montgomery. Sheldon Croney Jr. and Mike Warren would spell Montgomery some rest at times during the game, but were never much of a factor for most of the season.
The 2018 season will be one of the most anticipated for the running back spot as David Montgomery will be back for another run. As for now, let’s take a look back at how this position group fared during the 2017 season.
Position MVP: David Montgomery
There’s zero doubt that Montgomery was the MVP of the running backs, as he took over 60% of Iowa State’s rushing attempts. Montgomery rushed for 1,146 yards on the season, and found the endzone 11 times on the ground. Montgomery was also lethal out of the backfield in the passing game, totaling 36 receptions and 296 receiving yards.
Montgomery also led the nation in broken tackles, a stat kept by Pro Football Focus. He broke the season record for broken tackles previously held by former Florida State Seminole Dalvin Cook.
Highlight Of The Season:
As most Cyclone fans know, David Montgomery provided us with highlight real after highlight real. Breaking tackles left and right and taking yardage lost and turning it into big runs. My highlight of the season was at Texas Tech in October. The Red Raiders had Iowa State stuffed at the line of scrimmage and David Montgomery worked his magic to bust off a monster run.
If you have a suggestion for play of the season for running backs, leave it in the comments.
Breakout Player: Sheldon Croney Jr.
Although the workload from Sheldon Croney Jr. was minimal, during his time out on the field, he made the most of his opportunities. On the season, Croney tallied 31 carries for 159 yards and one touchdown to be Iowa State’s second leading rusher. His breakout performance was at Baylor where he took over for David Montgomery after injury. He proved to be a hard runner that could hit gaps with speed and get the yardage needed, which could earn him more time in the backfield in the 2018 season.
Outlook for 2018
There’s no doubt the focus for Iowa State’s offense will be the use of David Montgomery. The Cyclones will return some experience and continuity on the offensive line that will be primed for a breakout season in 2018.
The role for Mike Warren in 2018 is relatively unknown at this time, and the injured Kene Nwangwu will be back next season to provide some more depth to the position. Look for David Montgomery to be used extensively again, but Nwangwu, Croney, and Johnnie Lang will all be battling for time in the backfield behind Montgomery.
Iowa State will have one of the most powerful running back groups in the entire conference, and it will be a fun position to watch unfold next season.