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Mid-Season Grades: Running Backs

David Montgomery is coming on strong

West Virginia Mountaineers v Iowa State Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images

Expected to be a strong suit heading into 2018, Iowa State’s rush attack got off to a slow start, though it has found its stride over the past few games. There are multiple reasons for this:

  1. Much improved play from the offensive line
  2. A true double-threat quarterback in Brock Purdy
  3. A healthy David Montgomery

How much has Purdy’s emergence affected the running game? He is officially the second-leading rusher on the team, with 31 carries totaling 122 yards and one touchdown in just two games. Here, however, is a look at how all non-QB rushers have fared so far:

David Montgomery

Montgomery started the season modestly, as the Cyclone offense was trying to find its identity. 17 attempts in 44 yards against Iowa was uncharacteristically low for the powerful back, but he has found his stride, amassing over 100 yards in each of the last three games. His last game against West Virginia was a vintage performance, pounding the ball for 189 yards on 29 carries. This came after he sat out the Oklahoma State game with an injury, and if he can stay healthy he will continue to open up those passing lanes for Purdy.

Kene Nwangwu

The speedster has stepped up when called upon this season, totaling 88 yards on 20 attempts. He averaged 4.9 yards per carry on 10 touches against Oklahoma State, which helped the Cyclones along in the absence of Montgomery. His breakout speed is truly evident on any end-around or reverse-type plays.

Sheldon Croney Jr.

Croney Jr. has 14 carries for 40 yards, but did not see any action against West Virginia. Still, he had four touches for 20 yards and one touchdown against Oklahoma State, again helping to fill the void with Montgomery out.

Johnnie Lang

The freshman has been used sparingly this season, averaging almost three yards per carry on 11 handoffs this season. He also did not see any action in the Cyclones’ win over West Virginia.

Mid-Season Grade: B-

Projected Final Grade: B+