No. 22 Iowa State 28, Baylor 14: Fight overshadows Cyclones' meaningful win

Baylor's Greg Roberts, ISU's David Montgomery ejected

Officials break up an altercation between Baylor and Iowa State during Saturday's game at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. (Reese Strickland/USA TODAY Sports)

AMES — Iowa State has won five straight conference games in a football season for the first time after the Cyclones beat Baylor 28-14 Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium.

No. 22 Iowa State (6-3, 5-2 Big 12) earned bowl eligibility for the second straight season.

Freshman quarterback Brock Purdy had a sensational game, completing 18 of his 23 passing attempts for 230 yards and a touchdown. He ran for 56 yards on 12 attempts and had a rushing touchdown. To cap it all off, he was the receiver on a successful 2-point conversion play.

But all of that was overshadowed by a brawl that broke out early in the third quarter.

The kindling was lit on a David Montgomery run. Baylor defensive back Chris Miller drove Montgomery out of bounds, but instead of letting up when they reached the boundry, Miller kept driving and pushed Montgomery straight through the Gatorade cart about 20 feet out of bounds. The officials eventually separated Miller and the Iowa State sideline and assessed a 15-yard penalty to Baylor (5-5, 3-4).

Two plays later, Iowa State receiver Hakeem Butler was blocking for another Montgomery rush. During the run, Baylor defensive back Blake Lynch held on to Butler after the block and a pushing contest started. The scuffle escalated into a full-on brawl.

Baylor’s Greg Roberts punched Montgomery around a referee. In response, Montgomery retaliated and punched Roberts, who then tried to punch Montgomery again, but got closer to hitting a referee than he did Montgomery. Iowa State lineman Josh Knipfel tried to break up the fight but law enforcement had to intervene and eventually got control of Roberts.

“I was just trying to make sure David didn’t get hurt or anything,” Knipfel said. “When stuff like that happens, that’s when dumb injuries happen. I didn’t want David to get hurt or anything like that. I was trying to break it up and move onto the next play.”

Knipfel and Roberts were originally ejected, but after the referees in the booth buzzed down, they brought Knipfel back in and ejected Montgomery. Knipfel, who was already in the locker room, came running out to a round of cheers.

“I loved the standing ovation when he came back on,” Butler said. “It was like a wrestler coming into a Royal Rumble.”

To go along with the ejections, each player on both teams were assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

“It’s too much to even have a response,” Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell said. “Emotionally, a very unfortunate situation. I thought our kids, for the most part, kept really good poise. Until I watch it, I don’t want to even comment on it until I have the opportunity to see what transpired.”

Montgomery apologized on Twitter when he got to the locker room.

Campbell tried to keep himself composed on the sidelines during the situation because he knows his players are watching how he responds.

“I’ve always said this for me and coaching, that’s why you don’t see me act the fool on the sideline, because I think the kids are watching how you respond,” Campbell said. “I’ve always felt like that. I had a great college coach (Mount Union’s Larry Kehres) who set the standard for that in a lot of ways. Now, I know I’m an emotional guy and my emotions come out at different times, but I really try not to (let it) be around our kids, because I think the reality of it is, is they see how you respond and they take your response and they roll with it.”

Campbell brought his team together and tried to steady their focus.

“He’s a big guy about keeping your emotions in check,” Knipfel said. “Emotions are great if you get a touchdown or turnover, but there are still minutes to play. There was still opportunity for them to respond. You just have to stay focused.”

Iowa State did and capped off that drive with a field goal. The next drive, Iowa State answered with a touchdown. And in a somewhat fitting way, Iowa State converted a 2-point conversion, just for good measure.

“I thought those things were really big,” Campbell said. “I thought that showed maturity with a young freshman quarterback. I thought that was big at least from a momentum standpoint for the offense.”

Iowa State goes to Austin, Texas, next week to play No. 19 Texas. NCAA rules state that if a player is ejected in the second half of a game, that player will also miss the first half of the next game. So, Montgomery will likely be out for the first half against Texas. But the Big 12 is the final arbitrator in situation, so Montomery could be reinstated, though that seems unlikely.

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