Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 13, 2018 at 10:39 pm.

Montgomery to miss first half of Texas game

For the second time this season, David Montgomery won’t be in the starting lineup for Iowa State this weekend. This time, however, the culprit isn’t the upper arm injury that kept him on the sidelines. Instead, it’s the result of his part in an on-field conflagration in last week’s victory over Baylor.

Montgomery was ejected in the fourth quarter for throwing a punch, which by Big 12 rules sidelines him for the first half of this week’s game against Texas. No supplemental discipline was given by the league, so he’ll be eligible starting in the third quarter.

It was a tough blow for Montgomery, who responded to a slap to the helmet from Baylor’s Greg Roberts, but the team didn’t appeal. Instead, coach Matt Campbell will likely turn to a backfield by committee led by Johnnie Lang, Sheldon Croney, Kene Nwangwu and Matt Warren. Lang got the most carries out of this foursome against the Bears, but that mix could change for the Longhorns depending on how practice goes.

“David is one of the great leaders of all-time that I’ve ever been around and he responded to a negative situation,” coach Matt Campbell said. “We know in this sport when you respond there’s a penalty to it and we’ll abide by it and move forward. It’s a great learning lesson.”

This is a high-stakes week for the Cyclones. A bowl bid is all but assured thanks to the victory over Baylor, but both Iowa State and Baylor enter the week tied for third in the Big 12. The winner stays in the title race for at least another week. The loser will have to settle for one of the lower-tier bowls.

Iowa State has been solid defensively throughout the Big 12 schedule with one big exception — mobile quarterbacks. Baylor had no problems moving up and down the field last week, but the Cyclones were strong enough in the red zone that it didn’t make a difference.

Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger is strong both running and throwing the football. Texas coach Tom Herman indicated that the Longhorns might use play-action more often to try to keep the Cyclones off balance, something that other teams have managed to do successfully.

Iowa State’s defense has been able to bend but not break most of the season. If it can do that again, it may find itself in the title hunt heading into the final week of the conference season. If not, it will have to hope an undermanned offense can keep pace until Montgomery returns in the second half.