ISU football gaining ground despite loss at Toledo


Redshirt sophomore wide receiver D’Vario Montgomery looks for a penalty flag after his reception on Nov. 1. Montgomery caught his first career touchdown pass for 59 yards, the longest play from scrimmage for Iowa State this season. The Cyclones fell to the No. 19 Sooners with a final score of 59-14.

Max Dible

Iowa State averaged an abysmal 70 yards rushing in its first two games.

Against Toledo, the Cyclones rushed for 207 yards as a team, and redshirt freshman Mike Warren became the team’s first 100-yard rusher of the season, tallying 126 yards on his own.

“He was one of the reasons why we were going to win the football game,” said ISU coach Paul Rhoads. “[It was] fun to have a 100-plus-yard rusher and run for over 200 yards as an offense.”

Warren did cough up a costly fumble in the red zone late in the first half as the Cyclones drove, trailing the Rockets 13-10.

“Coming into the game, I knew I had to step up a little bit. [It was my] first career start in college,” Warren said. “I feel like I was prepared, but some things went wrong. But those are things we can fix.”

Rhoads approached Warren after the fumble to provide some words of wisdom during one of the most tumultuous moments of the redshirt freshman’s young career.

“He told me to keep my head up,” Warren said. “It helped a lot. Coming from the head coach, his words do mean a lot, and I think I stepped it up second half.”

The Cyclones didn’t only improve in the running game on the offensive side of the ball.

The goal line stand was a defining moment for the ISU defense. It held Kareem Hunt and company relatively in check and allowed 79 fewer yards to Toledo than it had on average in its first two games in Ames — despite defending against two extra overtime possessions.

Quarterback Sam Richardson was exceptional as well, spreading the ball out effectively, running and passing efficiently, and putting his team in a position to win in the final seconds.

Yet it was the mistakes — the 14 penalties for 113 yards, the Warren fumble and the missed Cole Netten field goal with five seconds remaining — that made what was arguably the Cyclones’ best effort in 2015 all for naught.

“Just execution,” Richardson said. “They executed down there in overtime and we missed some shots there. And that’s what it comes down to, especially in overtime. You can’t miss any of those.”