Montgomery eyes medical hardship waiver

JAMES MONTGOMERY

CORVALLIS -- A dominating win over Oregon State wasn't the only good news for Washington State fans that come out of Corvallis on Saturday. James Montgomery, WSU's season rushing leader, said after the game that he is leaning toward applying to the NCAA for a medical hardship waiver that would grant him a sixth year of eligibility next season.

"I'd probably try to come back," Montgomery said. "It's a big decision."

James Montgomery, who suffered a career-threatening leg injury last year that sidelined him most of the season and briefly put his life in danger, has produced career highs of 110 carries, 400 rushing yards and five touchdowns (all on the ground). He also has nine receptions for 45 yards and no touchdowns.

Montgomery, a blue-chip recruit (the 20th-ranked senior running back in the country Scout.com in 2006) out of Cordova High School near Sacramento, transferred to WSU in 2008 after seeing limited action as a redshirt freshman at California the year before.

Montgomery, who much prefers laid-back Pullman over life in Berkeley, had to sit out the 2008 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. Last season, he rushed for 167 yards and one touchdown on 37 carries before he was injured in the third game.

Montgomery has long dreamed of playing in the NFL. He has two 100-yard rushing performances to his credit at WSU (one each season) despite running behind underwhelming offensive lines.

On Saturday, the strong play of the offensive line was one of many factors that contributed to a 31-14 win over the Beavers. The Cougars had advantages of 378-261 total yards, 221-97 rushing yards, 76-48 offensive plays and 41-17 minutes of possession time.

"Oh man, it felt so good ... we whooped their butts," Montgomery said with a grin. Montgomery ran for 67 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries Saturday and said he's "getting pretty close" to regaining his pre-injury form.

Montgomery hopes he's 100 percent by the time WSU resumes play Dec. 4 against Washington, and said said he hopes star Husky quarterback Jake Locker has fully recovered from his fractured rib for the Apple Cup. "We want to beat their best team," Montgomery said.

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