Football Insider: NU Post-Game

Iowa State continued to steamroll through the Big 12 slate Saturday by beating Nebraska for a three-game winning streak. With time to reflect on and review the Cyclone triumph, former offensive lineman Bob Montgomery evaluates the effort in the 10th of a series of post-game reports.

CN: How about starting with some overall comments from the Husker game?

Montgomery: The Cyclones did exactly what a good team does on Saturday. Clearly they were the better team, took care of business, and got the win. We could see it as fans that the better team won on Saturday. We had the better offense, defense, and special teams on Saturday, and it showed on the scoreboard. The guys were confident that they could win and they came out and proved it.

CN: The 2002 victory over Nebraska had to be one of the top victories in Dan McCarney's tenure as head coach. Given the circumstances of this year's win, where does it rank?

Montgomery: This win is definitively in the top five. I would say that this win is the first time that Mac put himself in the driver's seat of our division, and is capitalizing on it. This is a game that we had to win to get to the top of the league and we got it done. This game was the first game in Mac's tenure here that had this many implications. He had the team ready to go and they took care of business.

CN: Is this team starting to surprise even you?

Montgomery: I saw the talent and potential of this team when I was playing with them last year. All they needed was to believe that they could win. The victories this year so far have given them this confidence, and they are reaching their potential. This kind of opportunity is what any college football player dreams of, so we will see if the Cyclones can live the dream or if we crumble under the pressure.

CN: Why do you think the Iowa State offense went after the Nebraska secondary early and often?

Montgomery: The offensive coaches must have seen some faults in the Husker pass defense, and they wanted to capitalize on it early and often. Also, when you have receivers like Jon Davis and Todd Blythe, it would be dumb not to use them.

CN: Talk about the performance quarterback Bret Meyer put together.

Montgomery: Bret had the breakout performance that we have been waiting for. However, we have to remember Bret was rarely hurried when he was throwing the ball due to the pass protection. Plus, we have two of the top receivers in the league that find ways to get open.

CN: Iowa State really seemed to keep the pedal on the medal, especially late in the first half, by going for another score. What did you think of this strategy?

Montgomery: I really like this strategy. I think it took the final breath of air out of the Huskers. They came back tough in the second half, but I think the game was over in the final minute of the first half. Everything was going our way when we scored that touchdown.

CN: What were your thoughts of the defensive performance?

Montgomery: I thought that it was one of the least impressive performances of the season, but when we needed them to step up big they did. Tim Dobbins made the biggest play of all when we needed it the most. They bent but they didn't break. We had a couple breakdowns throughout the defense but stayed tough when the game was on the line.

CN: How were the Huskers able to beat ISU deep so often late in the game? What do you attribute that to?

Montgomery: I think the big plays in the game were due to a couple of mental breakdowns. When you play as well as our defensive backfield has all year, and then plays like that happen, it has to be a mental lapse by someone.

CN: The team will likely be without veteran senior linebacker Brandon Brown the rest of the season. How will that loss effect the team?

Montgomery: Brandon has been one of the most consistent players and leaders throughout the last two years. Losing him will definitely be tough on the defense. However, if there were a position that we are deep enough at for someone to go down, linebacker would be it. We have Jamar Buchanan as Brandon's backup, and then a middle linebacker in Matt Robertson who has played both inside positions. The leadership will still be expected and shown from Brandon. The more positive Brandon stays, the better attitude the Cyclones will have.

CN: Given all of the Cyclones' momentum, is this a good time for a bye week? Why or why not?

Montgomery: A bye week will be nice for the Cyclones. It will give the guys a nice rest before one of the biggest games in Iowa State history. The time off will allow the team to rest their mind and get prepared for the Wildcats. The Cats are the one Big 12 team that has had our number for a long while now. It is time to break through that barrier and take the Big 12 North by the throat.

CN: Could this time off have an adverse effect on the team's focus heading into Manhattan in two weeks?

Montgomery: I don't see the time off having a negative impact on the Clones. This late in the season a week off is going to be very beneficial. The Big 12 schedule has a wearing effect on teams, and a break will push us through the rest of the schedule.

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