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Cincinnati Bearcats Football Season in Review: Ryan Montgomery

Montgomery's primary role was punt returner in 2019, but he made a few plays in the running game as well.

Tulsa v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Numbers

  • 20 rushing attempts
  • 106 yards
  • 2 touchdowns
  • 28 punt returns
  • 9.2 yards per punt return

There were not a ton of carries to go around for Cincinnati running backs in 2019 if your name wasn’t Michael Warren or Gerrid Doaks. The duo combined for 361 of the Bearcats’ 616 rushing attempts and quarterback Desmond Ridder tacked on an additional 144. That didn’t leave a lot of room for those further down the depth chart.

Ryan Montgomery managed to appear in all 14 games despite very few rushing attempts because he was given a chance to diversify his production. The freshman running back was an important contributor on special teams and served as the team’s primary punt returner. He logged 28 of the team’s 30 punt returns and averaged 9.2 yards per return, including a long of 25 yards. In addition, he was the busiest punt returner in the American Athletic Conference and averaged two returns per game, although he only had one kickoff return.

With such an important role locked in, Montgomery didn’t necessarily have to produce out of the backfield, but when he got a chance to shine, he took advantage. He tallied what would be a fantastic one-game line of 106 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries across the whole season. He also averaged 5.3 yards per carry, tying him with Doaks for the highest per carry mark among Bearcats who ran the ball at least 10 times.

The Best of the Best

Sept. 14, 2019 vs. Miami-Ohio

Montgomery produced 92 all-purpose yards, including 57 punt return yards and 35 rushing yards.

Jan. 2, 2020 vs. Boston College

This was Montgomery’s best game as a pure running back, as he ran for 47 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

For Next Year

It remains to be seen how much more rushing work will be available next season. Warren and Tavion Thomas may have moved on, but Doaks is still around as is Charles McClelland. If we look out even further, Jerome Ford will have something to say as well. Regardless of how things shake out, Montgomery has established himself as a reliable contributor in the return game and at the very least, he could serve in such a role again. If there are more rushing opportunities to be had, then he just needs to build on the solid showing he managed in sparse playing time as a freshman.