FB Insider: UNI Post-Game

Iowa State opened the 2004 regular season with a 23-0 victory against Northern Iowa Saturday afternoon. With time to reflect on and review the Cyclone victory, former offensive lineman Bob Montgomery evaluates the effort in the first of a series of post-game reports.

CN: A lot of talk going into this game was about Iowa State ridding itself of the memories of last season, and a 10-game losing streak it carried coming in. How far did yesterday's 23-0 victory over Northern Iowa go in doing that?

Montgomery: I believe that the success of the team this year will be due to not wanting to feel what we felt last year. However, the bitter taste in the mouth of the Cyclones and their fans was definitely lessened by the win over UNI. As the bad memories lessen from last year they will always use those negative experiences as fuel to remain excited and work harder. One thing I guarantee is that during the post game celebration Saturday there were no thoughts of last season.

CN: Assess what this team's mindset might be, heading into a game against in-state rival Iowa.

Montgomery: This team has a great mindset going into the Iowa game. The members of this team have only lost to Iowa once in their career and don't want to make a habit of it. There are very few rivalries in America like the one that we will witness next weekend. Both teams will prepare well and have great weeks of practice. If you are a fan of either team you have got to be excited about the battle set for Kinnick next weekend.

CN: How would you rate the performances given by quarterbacks Bret Meyer and Austin Flynn, and what were some positives and any negatives you saw in breaking down the tape?

Montgomery: I was very pleased with the play of the whole offense, you can tell that the experience gained from last year has helped many of the guys on this side of the ball. Bret played well for his first game under center, but definitely has some points to work on. Austin took advantage of his opportunities when he got in the game scoring on his first drive with a beautiful pass to Todd Blythe. Both quarterbacks had some bright moments, and also some fundamentals they could improve on.

CN: What are your thoughts on the Cyclones going with two quarterbacks against the Hawkeyes?

Montgomery: Both quarterbacks that we are using are exceptional athletes and bring a lot to the team. It is slightly more difficult when a team has to prepare for two quarterbacks, as opposed to focusing on one player. Both kids have earned the right to play and both will do an exceptional job in a hostile environment. An experience in that kind of environment is essential when playing in the Big 12.

CN: In detail, evaluate the play of the offensive line, which paved the way for 100-plus yards rushing from Stevie Hicks.

Montgomery: There was good and bad on the offensive line. More good then bad however. Cale Stubbe and Luke Vander Sanden played like the seasoned veterans that they are while Aaron Brant and Seth Zehr made some great strides since last year. Kory Pence played hard, but was affected by inconsistency that will be fixed with experience. The quarterbacks weren't on the ground too much so the hogs must have done their jobs. I liked to see the hustle of the big fellas running around making plays and helping their ball carriers up after the play.

CN: A few substitutions were made on the offensive line throughout the game. What kind of depth does Barney Cotton have at his disposal?

Montgomery: There a couple of backups on the line ready to play Big 12 football. Scott Stephenson is gaining knowledge and getting ready to go. Brian Lutter is mentally ready and plays as hard as anyone. The whole second line is able to play but are in need of experience for improvement.

CN: Defensively, the Cyclones limited Northern Iowa to just 99 total yards and zero points. Where would this effort rank in all of the games you've either seen or played in at ISU?

Montgomery: I was very impressed with the new defense. The linebackers looked great and Nick Leaders anchored the line helping to shut down the Panther running game. Ellis Hobbs led the secondary in shutting down Tom Petrie and the air game. There have been some very impressive defensive performances throughout my career at Iowa State, and I would have to say that this was one of the greatest opening season performances I have seen. This was a great warmup for a tough schedule with some great offenses.

CN: Why was ISU so successful on this side of the ball?

Montgomery: The defense came out and played confident like they knew that they were going to dominate. They were flat out better then the UNI offense. I am sure that they have some things to work on, but if we see defensive performances like that all year it will be a great season.

CN: Grade the different areas of special teams.

Montgomery: Special teams were a highlight for the Clones on Saturday. The two backups for Tony Yelk played well. We knew Troy Blankenship could play well and he showed it. Brian Jansen impressed us all with his ability to kick in a game situation. Todd Miller reminded us what he could do as a returner, while the rest of the squads played well and it showed with the field position advantage.

The Kickoff team (B) played well. We didn't have Tony to kick the ball out of the end zone so the knot heads had to play tough and they rose to the challenge. The kickoff return team gets a (B) only because they had one return. The punt team (B-/ C+) was impressive, led by Blankenship and the Stingers. But they did have a stupid penalty and some missed tackles. The punt return team (B) also had a couple penalties, but great efforts especially from Todd Miller helped our field position. The PAT team was solid with a great rookie performance from Jansen. There were no PAT block attempts.

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