Football Insider: Missouri Post-Game

Iowa State's run for an outright Big 12 North championship ended Saturday with a three-point loss to Missouri. With time to reflect on and review the disappointing finish to the regular season, former offensive lineman Bob Montgomery evaluates the effort in the 12th of a series of post-game reports.

Iowa State from 1999-2003. He is a former ISU team captain, three-time ISU scholar-athlete award winner, and was named ISU's lineman of the year in 2002. He is now enrolled in graduate school at Iowa State. The former academic All-Big 12 and second team All-Big 12 lineman will now provide analysis each week exclusively here at CycloneNation.com.

CN: What kinds of feelings ran through you when A.J. Kincade intercepted that pass in the end zone to beat Iowa State?

Montgomery: That was the first negativity I felt all afternoon. I was sure, along with the Cyclones that we were going to pull the game out regardless of what Mizzou did. We hadn't felt the feeling of a loss for a long while and realized how bad of a feeling it is.

CN: Give us some of your overall thoughts from Saturday's 17-14 defeat at Jack Trice Stadium.

Montgomery: The game was a hard fought battle. The Missouri coaching staff utilized Brad Smith effectively and how they should have been playing with him all year. They got him running outside of the pocket, giving him a run and pass option. What we saw in this game was Smith and Bret Meyer making plays. Bret looks like Brad did two years ago. When Bret puts a little weight on he will be a carbon copy of Smith.

CN: Did you sense this team put any more pressure on it, given Friday's result in Lincoln with Colorado beating Nebraska?

Montgomery: No. I think they were prepared regardless of the outcome in Lincoln. They knew they had to win and the chips just didn't fall their way. A couple of key mistakes and mental errors led to missing a chance at the biggest opportunity in Cyclone football history.

CN: Evaluate the final offensive series of regulation and overtime, which ended in a missed field goal by Bret Culbertson and interception of a pass intended for Jon Davis. Did you agree or disagree with the approach? Would you have done anything differently? Why or why not?

Montgomery: I would have gone for the end zone at least once in both of the possessions, giving Todd Blythe and Meyer the opportunity to hook up regardless of how many people were covering Todd. It seems like the coaches played for a field goal at the end of regulation, and regardless of how much confidence your young kicker has it is hard to put a youngster out there in a situation like that. It is hard to contradict the coaches looking back on the game now; who knows what we would do if we were put in that situation.

CN: What kind of factor did the weather play, as far as what the Cyclone offense was able to do schematically? What, if any, things got eliminated from the playbook as a result?

Montgomery: Deep balls into the wind got eliminated for both teams automatically when a game is played in weather like that. That was really about it; we ran all of the same pass plays with the wind and ran our run plays that we have been running all year.

CN: ISU's improved running game took a step backwards against Mizzou, as Stevie Hicks mustered just two yards per carry on the day. What were some of the reasons for the decline?

Montgomery: The running game was effected by the skill of the Missouri defensive front along with some major mistakes from our offensive front seven. We had some key mistakes by each of our offensive lineman, which led to the accumulation of bad plays in the running game. The one positive in the running game is that Kory Pence continues to improve and Stevie is still running hard.

CN: Were you surprised to see Tiger quarterback Brad Smith rush the ball more liberally, given his pass-first tendencies this season? How did that open up other aspects of the offense?

Montgomery: Finally giving Brad Smith the run-pass option opened up the offense considerably for the Tigers. The inability of the Mizzou coaching staff to give Smith this option all year considerably hurt the Tigers all season. Smith is one of the best athletes in the Big 12 and maybe even the country. Keeping him confined in the pocket is just wrong.

CN: What's the best approach to take with a team fresh off a devastating, overtime loss such as this one?

Montgomery: I believe a couple days off is necessary, and then it's time to get back to work. Continuing the schedule that led you to a four-game winning streak in the Big 12 will lead you to a victory over about any team you may play in a bowl game. These kids proved a lot of people wrong this year, and they know they have one more chance to do that. I would say that 7-5 is way better then 6-6.

CN: How difficult will it be for this team to recover mentally in time for postseason play?

Montgomery: I don't think it will be to difficult. This team earned the label of Big 12 North co-champion and they are ready to go out and represent the Big 12 with great pride. This team was not supposed to be even close this year and the fact that they should have won the North is huge. After a couple days off this team will be revived and ready to go.

CN: With a bowl game on the horizon, give us some things Coach McCarney might have said to the team afterwards?

Montgomery: I am sure that Mac accentuated the fact that the team had the opportunities to win the game and really should have won the game. He most likely also said a little something about the fact that we still gained the label of Big 12 North co-champions. That is probably about all that he said. I would say that the team and staff were completely exhausted after a battle like that.


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