Heading into the Liberty Bowl, Iowa State was on the verge of accomplishing something that no other team in college football had EVER done. Until then Iowa State had lost exactly ZERO fumbles. None. The team had only fumbled the ball fives times over the entire season, and they had recovered every single one. What an incredible, unbreakable record that would be.
The Cyclones looked to be cruising into that record on the back of one of the best running backs in the country in David Montgomery. However, late in the 4th quarter. Matt Campbell dialed up a simple inside handoff to Montgomery inside the five yard to try and put the good guys up eight points with just four minutes to go. What happened? Let’s refresh your memory.
The play starts with a bad handoff, but David does appear to get it under control before hitting the line of scrimmage. As he’s falling, his right hand hits the ankle of the offensive lineman, causing the ball to pop out. The play was ruled a fumble on the field, and Memphis recovered the ball. This initial ruling was enormously important, as the referee would need to see indisputable evidence to overturn the fumble.
Well, because we’re Iowa State and the universe hates us, the call was obviously not overturned. While there wasn’t necessarily a 100% clear camera angle of the fumble showing that Montgomery was beyond the line of scrimmage, it was pretty easy to see on the video that DM had already crossed the line of scrimmage, negating the fumble, and preserving Iowa State’s unbreakable record. Yet, here we sit, recordless.
However, as we all know, there is a happy ending to this story. The Cyclones made a crucial defensive stand on Memphis’ last offensive possession and won the game. After the game, Matt Campbell even said he was hoping the call would go against his team so they could show everyone how far they’d come as a team. How badass is that?