It’s time for another addition of Cowboy Ride For Free’s roundtable! This week we talk about David Montgomery and how the Cowboys can get around the losses on defense.
1.) What were your thoughts when you heard David Montgomery is day to day going into this game?
Robert Whetsell: He’ll play and look like Ironman
Phillip Slavin: From my understanding, I believe he has a deep muscle bruise. So basically the team is just going to pump him full of pain killers and put him on the field. He’s going to be playing on Saturday, and that’s all that matters. Luckily for OSU, they have the No. 1 ranked rushing defense in the Big 12 holding teams to 111.5 yds/gm. Meanwhile, Iowa State, even with Montgomery, has the worst ranked rushing offense in the conference, averaging just 79.3 yds/gm. So... I feel fairly confident that OSU can keep Montgomery mostly in check like they did Pooka Williams last week.
Matt Harris:. Montgomery is arguable Iowa State’s most important player so him being day-to-day is huge. I think OSU will put this one away (Iowa State currently has the worst record in the Big 12 at 1-3) but the Cyclones have won plenty of games that it shouldn’t have (shudders). If Montgomery misses this game, it should take a big burden off the defense.
Zach McCoy: I never like injuries and would much rather everyone be full strength on both teams so there’s no excuses. That said, if Montgomery is limited at all it will be a significant blow for ISU’s already beleaguered offense.
Joel Penfield:Montgomery is going to play, and he is a solid player. But Iowa State’s offensive line is not very good, so if Oklahoma State can create havoc in the trenches they should be able to limit him.
Louis Pineda: Because it is OSU vs. ISU, I know that no matter what he will play and be awesome.
Ryan Harris:He’s going to play. This team is 1-3 and desperate for a win. They need to turn things around quick and he knows that he needs to play in order for that to happen. Iowa State doesn’t have the depth to afford him to sit out with a day-to-day injury. If he can go, he will go.
Grant Boston:Sympathy. In a team that lost a guaranteed W against South Dakota State (rain delay) and their starting quarterback (ankle injury) in a game against their biggest rival, this team can’t catch a break. It’s good for the Cowboys, but they were good enough to win on their own. I just hope Montgomery recovers next week.
2.) What does Oklahoma State have to do to make sure that Iowa State doesn’t steal away a win?
Robert Whetsell: Score more points than Iowa State and keep an eye on the refs. They’ve been known to make stupid calls that steal games.
Phillip Slavin: Get to Zeb Noland. I feel good about OSU keeping Montgomery mostly in check. But Carter Stanley connected with some WIIIIIDE open receivers last week. The difference here is that Iowa State has a MUCH better defense than Kansas. If the Cowboys can make Noland uncomfortable and keep him from connecting with receiver Hakeem Butler and tight end Chase Allen (who is back from injury), they should be able to win comfortably.
Matt Harris:The biggest thing OSU has to do Saturday is limit Montgomery as much as it can if he does indeed wind up playing. The Pokes also have a reputation for playing down to lesser opponents. We saw this the last time the Cyclones came to Stillwater when they were up 31-14 in the third quarter. OSU needed to outscore Iowa State 17-0 in the fourth quarter of that game just to come away with a 38-31 win. That game left Iowa State with a 1-5 record, that team was a far cry from the upstart that we saw in Ames a year ago. OSU can’t afford to look past Iowa State or play down to them because they can win those kind of games.
Zach McCoy: Stick to the formula we (mostly) laid out last week. Short/intermediate passes and Justice for all. Limit ISU’s scoring opportunities with ToP and commit to Knowles’ defense.
Joel Penfield:Three fairly simple keys for me here: 1) don’t cough up the ball on offense, 2) don’t shoot yourself in the foot with penalties, 3) tighten up on special teams.
Louis Pineda: The keys to success are the running backs, specifically in the passing game. Iowa State’s defense is good enough to slow down Justice Hill, which means that we will need the passing game to be able to sustain drives. The short passing game has been a bit of a hit or miss this year, but we have the backs that have the ability to catch some short passes and YAC all the way down the field.
Ryan Harris: Don’t let Iowa State hang around. They need to stick to their game plan from last weekend against Kansas. If OSU can get Justice and Chuba going it allows Corndog to play in his world, and that’s when OSU is at their best.
Grant Boston: Whether Montgomery plays or not, shutting down the running game is secondary to containing Hakeem Butler. Although they’ve played a schedule against two of the nation’s top defenses in Iowa and Oklahoma, the 6’ 6” Butler is still averaging nearly 20 yards per carry. Jim Knowles will need to put his most trusted corner on Butler and keep a safety over the top at all times.
3.) With Darrion Daniels being out for the season, What are you expecting Jim Knowles to do to replace him?
Robert Whetsell: Substitute another player. Oh, and wear out Enoch Smith.
Phillip Slavin: The same thing they did last week at Kansas. OSU has some decent depth on the defensive line. Now obviously you can’t replace the best player on the line in Daniels, but you can mitigate the loss with some talented guys behind him like Enoch Smith.
Matt Harris: I’m not entirely sure on this one. Jordan Brailford is tied for first in the nation in sacks this season and the Pokes have five more sacks than any other team in the nation to this point of the year (granted that OSU has played five games while some schools have only played four). I would assume that Knowles would continue to dial up pressure but that will be harder with Daniels out for the year and with Calvin Bundage having an injury of his own.
Zach McCoy: Like Phillip said, D-line is one of our deeper positions. Keep the rotations going and move your playmakers around to keep them guessing (crosses fingers for return of Bundage).
Joel Penfield:Enoch Smith Jr. has played well this year as a backup to Darrion Daniels, so he’ll most likely most up into the starting role. Daniels will be missed, but there is enough depth at the defensive line position that I don’t think it will be a glaring loss.
Louis Pineda: Thank goodness we are deep at the defensive line position, but losing Daniels is tough because of what he did inside. Interior blitzes might not be as common now, and Knowles will have to focus on more outside pressure.
Ryan Harris: He’ll send a “next man up” cliche message to his group up front. I expect him to bring a lot of pressure this weekend. Zeb Noland is good but he’s still young. Shutting down Montgomery will be key. I’d like to see a lot of pressure this weekend. Let the secondary loose and give themselves a chance to redeem themselves.
Grant Boston:While Knowles will probably employ a defensive-tackle-by-committee I think Cameron Murray has the tools and motor to step up and eventually win the job while Daniels is out.
4.) Do you think Mike & Mike continue to give Justice the football now after finally utilizing him last week?
Robert Whetsell: I’m guessing they’ll feed him the ball a fair amount as that is one of the five plays that OSU runs.
Phillip Slavin: Yes, but not 31 carries like they did last week. I expect more carries for J.D. King and Chuba Hubbard. I also expect a few more run plays for Taylor Cornelius. Justice Hill will be the bell cow, and deservedly so, but I would expect they try to hold him under 25 carries this week.
Matt Harris: If Justice is getting over 20 carries against Kansas, I would hope that he continues a similar pace. It would make no sense to run him like a horse against the worst team in the conference and then go back to not giving him a good amount of carries every game. Not to mention that Taylor Cornelius looked much better last week with more of the offensive responsibility out of his hands. Getting Justice 20-25 carries a game and utilizing Chuba and JD King (subsequently cutting back on the amount of times that Taylor Cornelius throws the ball) should help this offense tremendously moving forward.
Zach McCoy: I think the coaches have realized his superior play is worth the increased exposure. I expect less than 31 carries, though.
Joel Penfield: I want to see Justice Hill be the focus without force feeding him the ball, if that makes sense. Iowa State’s defense is legit, and I imagine that they will commit to stop the run and force CornDog to throw. If Oklahoma State can establish Hill early, I think they will set themselves up for success.
Louis Pineda: Please, please, please give him the ball as much as possible. Please. Now, do I think it will happen? No. They will continue to try and stretch the field even though that isn’t our strength this year.
Ryan Harris: Unequivocally yes. This is probably his last season in Stillwater. There is absolutely no reason Justice should get less than 15 carries. Justice opens up the offense and takes a lot of pressure off of Corndog. We’ve seen what not using Justice enough looks like and I don’t think anyone wants to go back to that.
Grant Boston:I hope Hill gets his carries, but not much more than 25. Chuba Hubbard showed that he can provide an excellent change of pace with his late score against Kansas. Moreover, Hubbard’s speed makes him more of a receiving threat than Hill. Mike & Mike have demonstrated the strangest aversion to involving Hill in the passing game. With J.D. King failing to impress as the primary backup to Hill, I’d like to see Chuba Hubbard feature more heavily in the rotation to spare Hill some carries for later down the stretch.
5.) Score prediction?
Robert Whetsell: OSU 31, Iowa State 17
Phillip Slavin:I have been going back and forth on this game the past two weeks. The last two years in a row, Iowa State built up a 31-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter only to see Oklahoma State come back and win both times. HOWEVER, like Kansas last year, I don’t think the trend will continue. The problem is, I think ISU’s solid run defense stops Justice Hill which forces TC to throw more and make more mistakes. I’ll go ISU 20 - OSU 17.
Matt Harris: Iowa State scares or beats one or two teams that it absolutely shouldn’t every year. The status of David Montgomery will be a huge deal in determining the outcome of this one. I’ll say Oklahoma State over the Cyclones 33-13.
Zach McCoy: ISU scores more than we’d like but the Pokes do enough to win; 31-24.
Joel Penfield: I’m going 31-20 Oklahoma State. The game is going to be much closer than the score indicates. It’s going to be ugly, Iowa State is going to grind to stay in the game, but I think the Pokes assert themselves as the better team.
Louis Pineda: I know I said last week that we would beat KU and lose this game, but I honestly can’t say that anymore with David Montgomery isn’t 100%. It will be close, though.
Ryan Harris: Oklahoma State: 31 Iowa State:20
Grant Boston: I see this being a slugfest: OSU 28, ISU 21