Montgomery: Huge win for the Cyclones on Saturday. Even though we should have beat the Bears pretty handily, we found a way to get the job done and win our first Big 12 game in 13 tries. The offense was very impressive on its long drives, and the defense had some key big plays and turnovers.
CN: Give us an idea of what the locker room must have felt like in the minutes following the final whistle.
Montgomery: There is no way to explain what that locker room was like after the game. Especially after last week and coming so close, the atmosphere had to be great. That is something that these guys can play for each week now.
CN: What does this victory do for Iowa State as it prepares for the stretch run in the Big 12?
Montgomery: This victory adds something that I have been talking about them needing all year… confidence. This helps the team believe they can win in the Big 12, even in dramatic fashion. It also shows the Clones that they are never out of any game and to keep fighting.
CN: Go through the game-winning 80-yard scoring drive that locked up the win. What were the Cyclones able to capitalize on? Which certain players came up big in the sequence?
Montgomery: The offense played Cyclone football on the last drive, and mixed a nice combination of passing and rushing to move the ball down the field and finish the Bears off. Bret Meyer's long pass to Todd Blythe, and the option on the touchdown were the two biggest plays of that drive. Stevie Hicks took the ball on the five-yard line and finally decided he wasn't going to be denied. The player that really grew and stepped up on that drive was Meyer. He took the team on his back and won the game.
CN: How did the offensive coaches use the tailback tandem of Stevie Hicks and Jason Scales? How was Scales able to find some running room in the BU defense?
Montgomery: The coaches used a nice combination of Thunder (Hicks) and Lightning (Scales). Stevie is able to hit the whole hard and get some tough yards, while Jason has the same ability but adds a little more quickness to the backfield. The decision to play both backs was a great decision by the coaches.
CN: If you were head coach Dan McCarney and offensive coordinator Barney Cotton, how would you split up the carries and playing time between Hicks and Scales this weekend?
Montgomery: I would try to keep the same percentages as this last game. I would split it up half-and-half to keep the defenses guessing. I think Stevie needs to be in there due to the experience factor, but Jason brings a nice change of pace to the offensive unit.
CN: The offense put together long touchdown scoring drives of 91, 80, and 65 yards against Baylor. What in particular was the unit doing right to sustain them?
Montgomery: The consistency of the offense is what led to their ability to capitalize on those long drives. The ability to keep the defense guessing between the run and the pass also gave the offense an advantage. It seemed like this crew knew what they could do against this team and just did it.
CN: On the other hand, Baylor's offense nearly out-gained ISU by 200 total yards. Are there any causes for concern in that statistic?
Montgomery: The defense did give up quite a few yards on Saturday, but the main statistic is the win the team earned. The defense carried this team in all of the games before this one, and it was about time the offense stepped up and made some plays. Even though the defense gave up some big yards, they still hunkered down when they needed to and made some huge plays.
CN: The Cyclone defense seemed to bend but not break, recovering four fumbles. What defensive strategy did John Skladany incorporate against the Bears?
Montgomery: I don't think the strategy was too much different than in any of our previous games. We tried to keep the offense guessing with our zone blitzing, and gave our linebackers great opportunities to make plays. I think the reason for all of the turnovers is the confidence that this defense plays with along with the way they fly to the ball.
CN: What was your evaluation of the special teams? Have the Cyclones finally found a placekicker in Bret Culbertson?
Montgomery: As long as the Culbertson kid keeps making them then he will be our guy. Coach Mac has no tolerance for inconsistency in the kicking game. The ability to make some kicks in the game on Saturday surely boosted the confidence of Coach Mac in this kid, so I would say he is the guy right now.