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Offensive Player to Watch: Johnnie Lang

With David Montgomery suspended for the first half, Johnnie Lang will have big shoes to fill.

NCAA Football: Baylor at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

In case you have been living under a rock, Iowa State’s star running back, David Montgomery, won’t play in the first half against Texas. Montgomery is one of the best players in the country, so obviously Iowa State will have to fill a big gap. But in case you haven’t heard, Iowa State has some pretty good backups.

Kene Nwangwu, Sheldon Croney Jr., and Johnnie Lang have all seen snaps at running back this season and they will all see snaps Saturday. But I am going to highlight Johnnie Lang out of these three because I believe he has the most potential for a big game on Saturday.

Although Matt Campbell hasn’t named a starter yet, it is widely assumed by a lot that Johnnie Lang will get the nod. Once Montgomery was taken out of the game, Lang took most of the snaps at the position and looked really good. Johnnie had four carries for 18 yards and a touchdown. (The video of his touchdown isn’t the highest quality, but it’s the only one I found on twitter. )

On this play, Lang showed off his great speed and his downhill running. The redshirt freshman has only seen a few snaps this season, but during his limited action he has looked good. He has 19 carries for 56 yards and 3 receptions for 27 yards. Obviously, the stats don’t make him look like a world beater, but he’s been solid on drives that Montgomery was on the sidelines.

Lang will play a huge role in the game because the tone of the game is on him. If he starts off hot, the Texas defense will have to respect him a whole lot more than they were planning. That would open up the offense to a higher level and Brock Purdy would have more freedom to do his thing. If he doesn’t show up, the first half could be an ugly one.

It is worth noting that even though Texas has had one of the best defense in the conference, their rushing defense has been their biggest strength. If they load the box and Lang still can open up the field, it will be huge for the Cyclones.

I think that Johnnie Lang will show off his great speed and quickness on the biggest stage in the country (Longhorn Network) and hold the offense steady before David Montgomery comes back.

His stats won’t light up the world, but his performance could be the most important one of the day.

Prediction: 10 carries, 45 cards, 2 receptions, 17 yards, 1 touchdown