Allen Lazard

AP

Iowa State completes stellar season by corralling No. 20 Memphis in Liberty Bowl

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Iowa State survived an ill-timed, controversial fumble and harassed Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson throughout a cold, windy afternoon to score a 21-20 upset of No. 20 Memphis on its home field in the Liberty Bowl.

The win capped off an ascendant season for Matt Campbell and his program, ending a string of six straight losing seasons with an 8-5 campaign — the Cyclones’ most wins since 2000 — that included three victories over ranked opponents.

Iowa State started the game in a Memphis-like fashion, accepting the ball to open the game and scoring on a 52-yard bomb from Kyle Kempt to Hakeem Butler. The Cyclones had a chance to take a 14-0 lead, driving to the Memphis 39-yard line, but a botched punt snap gave the Tigers the ball at the Iowa State 40 and the Tigers capitalized in two Ferguson passes. The first went 30 yards to Tony Pollard and the second 10 to Anthony Miller for the tying score, a grab that tied West Virginia’s David Sills for a national-best 18 touchdown receptions.

Memphis (10-3) missed on two opportunities to take the lead. First, Riley Patterson missed a 38-yard field goal at the tail end of the first quarter, and then Ferguson was sacked on a 4th-and-8 at the Iowa State 37 to open the second quarter. Iowa State took advantage of that momentum with a 12-play, 6-minute touchdown drive that was extended after a Kempt interception in the end zone was overturned upon review. Given new life, Campbell elected to go for a 4th-and-5 from the Memphis 30 and converted on a 12-yard completion to Allen Lazard. The Cyclones re-claimed the lead four plays later on a 2-yard Joel Lanning rush.

Iowa State had a chance to push its lead to two scores late in the half, driving to the Memphis 24, but Kempt was sacked on a 3rd-and-10 and Garrett Owens‘s 51-yard field goals sailed (way, way) wide left with 1:18 to play. Kempt connected on 15-of-26 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown in the half.

Memphis responded by driving for a 34-yard Patterson field goal as time expired in the half, then grabbed its first lead on a 36-yard toss from Ferguson to Phil Mayhue.

The Cyclones went back in front later in the third quarter, but not without significant help — again. Facing a 2nd-and-7 at the Memphis 9, Kempt was intercepted at the goal line by Curtis Akins, who returned the ball all the way to the 24. But the pick was overturned by a roughing the passer call — and a fortunate one at that — and Kempt nailed Lazard for a 5-yard touchdown two plays later, see-sawing Iowa State back in front at 21-17 with 4:28 left in the third quarter. Lazard closed his record-setting career with 10 grabs (tying a Liberty Bowl record) for 142 yards and a touchdown, while Kempt hit 24-of-38 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns.

After a short kickoff game Memphis the ball at its own 38, Memphis moved swiftly into Iowa State territory to set up Patterson’s second field goal, a 30-yarder that pulled the Tigers within 21-20.

The teams traded punt on their next possessions, but an advantage in the field position battle gave Iowa State the ball at the Memphis 45 with 11:05 to play in the game. The Cyclones successfully pulled off a choke-the-life-out-of-’em drive, consuming seven minutes and 23 seconds and moving to the Memphis 1 before the sure-handed David Montgomery fumbled the ball into the Memphis end zone, which was recovered by the Tigers’ Jonathan Cook. The play was (of course) reviewed and upheld, meaning the Cyclones’ first lost fumble of the entire season came at the worst possible time.

Memphis took over at its own 20 with 3:50 to play and appeared to go three-and-out, but a pass interference call on Iowa State’s Brian Peavy bailed the Tigers out with a first down instead of a punt. Ferguson drove Memphis to the Iowa State 40 with more than two minutes remaining and two timeouts in his pocket, but fired four straight incomplete passes to give the ball back to Iowa State with 1:52 to play. Lanning converted a 2nd-and-7 with a 9-yard rush, securing a game-clinching first down to salt away Iowa State’s first bowl win since 2009.

Ferguson completed his collegiate career with an effective 21-of-33 passing for 256 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, but he was sacked six times.

Iowa State leading Memphis halfway through Liberty Bowl

Associated Press
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It’s been an Iowa State-like tempo through the first half of the Liberty Bowl and, not surprisingly, Iowa State holds a 14-10 lead over Memphis.

Iowa State started the game in a Memphis-like fashion, accepting the ball to open the game and scoring on a 52-yard bomb from Kyle Kempt to Hakeem Butler. The Cyclones had a chance to take a 14-0 lead, driving to the Memphis 39-yard line, but a botched punt snap gave the Tigers the ball at the Iowa State 40 and the Tigers capitalized in two Riley Ferguson passes. The first went 30 yards to Tony Pollard and the second 10 to Anthony Miller for the tying score, a grab that tied West Virginia’s David Sills for a national-best 18 touchdown receptions.

Memphis missed on two opportunities to take the lead. First, Riley Patterson missed a 38-yard field goal at the tail end of the first quarter, and then Ferguson was sacked on a 4th-and-8 at the Iowa State 37 to open the second quarter. Iowa State took advantage of that momentum with a 12-play, 6-minute touchdown drive that was extended after a Kempt interception in the end zone was overturned upon review. Given new life, Matt Campbell elected to go for a 4th-and-5 from the Memphis 30 and converted on a 12-yard completion to Allen Lazard. The Cyclones re-claimed the lead four plays later on a 2-yard Joel Lanning rush.

Iowa State had a chance to push its lead to two scores late in the half, driving to the Memphis 24, but Kempt was sacked on a 3rd-and-10 and Garrett Owens‘s 51-yard field goals sailed (way, way) wide left with 1:18 to play. Kempt connected on 15-of-26 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown in the half.

Memphis responded by driving for a 34-yard Patterson field goal as time expired in the half.

Ferguson completed 14-of-17 passes for 170 yards with a touchdown. Memphis’s Patrick Taylor, Jr., leads all players rushing with eight carries for nine yards. Memphis as a team rushed for eight yards in the half, while Iowa State was held to minus-5, including the 21-yard loss on the botched punt snap.

No. 15 Oklahoma State survives on the road against upstart No. 21 Iowa state

Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images
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It was another week with a bit of an offensive back-and-forth for No. 15 Oklahoma State (8-2, 5-2 Big 12), and this time they came out on top of a wild one. The Cowboys managed to pull through in the fourth quarter to secure a 49-42 win at No. 21 Iowa State (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) to keep their Big 12 championship hopes alive.

The wild fourth quarter began with none other than Allen Lazard coming up with an incredible touchdown catch. As the ball soared to the endzone, Lazard tipped the ball with his left hand with a defender on him, and he caught the ball with his right hand as he fell to the ground for the go-ahead score.

The Lazard touchdown gave Iowa State a 35-31 lead, and Oklahoma State had to settle for a field goal on the ensuing possession to create a one-point game. A little more than a minute later, Iowa State expanded their lead to eight points on a 14-yard run by David Montgomery after a couple of big passes by Zeb Noland to Trever Ryen and an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Cowboys moved the ball quickly down the field. Oklahoma State responded once more by orchestrating a 75-yard drive for a touchdown. Mason Rudolph connected in the endzone with Marcell Ateman form 30 yards out on a 3rd and 22. After a couple of holding penalties in the endzone on two-point conversion attempts by the Pokes, Justice Hill powered his way in for a short pick-up to tie the game at 42-42 with just under six minutes to play.

Oklahoma State took the lead on a 19-yard pass from Rudolph to Dillon Stoner with 3:47 to play. Iowa State moved the ball into the red zone in the final minutes, but Oklahoma State picked off a pass in the endzone and had the instant replay booth uphold the call when it appeared there might have been simultaneous possession between Oklahoma State’s A.J. Green and Iowa State receiver Marchie Murdock.

Oklahoma State has already lost games to both Oklahoma and TCU, the frontrunners in the Big 12 championship game hunt. Even though the Sooners and Horned Frogs play today to guarantee one of them loses, Oklahoma State still must keep the pressure on and hope for some help around the conference these next few weeks.

Iowa State might have seen a chance to play for the Big 12 championship fall through the cracks in their home finale. Iowa State will wrap up the season on the road with back-to-back games at Baylor and Kansas State. One win is needed to clinch Iowa State’s first winning season since 2009.

Iowa State’s late TD push sends game with Oklahoma State to halftime tied 21-21

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Iowa State got off to a great start in yet another key Big 12 game, but Justice Hill and the Oklahoma State offense roared back with 21 straight points. But a late touchdown push by Iowa State sends this pivotal Big 12 game to halftime knotted at 21-21.

Allen Lazard did not waste much time having an impact on the game. Five minutes into the game, Lazard got his hands on a 14-yard touchdown pass to put the Cyclones on the board. After Iowa State’s defense forced a three-and-out on Oklahoma State’s first offensive series of the game, the Cyclone offense went back to work with another methodical drive, traveling 64 yards on eight plays for another touchdown to go up 14-0. David Montgomery capped the drive with a 22-yard touchdown run.

Perhaps going down 14-0 was the wakeup call Oklahoma State needed. On the ensuing possession, the Cowboys got on the board with a 21-yard pass from Mason Rudolph to Marcell Ateman. After forcing a three-and-out, and taking over at the Iowa State 32-yard line, Hill scored a 9-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14-14 early in the second quarter. Another three-and-out by the Cyclones led to another touchdown drive by Oklahoma State, with Hill once again capping the drive with a run to the end zone.

Iowa State tied things up in the final minute of the first half when Joel Lanning, the 6′-2″ 230 lb. quarterback, stepped in at quarterback for q short-yardage push at the goal line. It worked as Lanning and the Cyclones muscled forward for the touchdown on the ground.

A win by Iowa State will keep the Cyclones in the running to make the Big 12 championship game, thank in large part to head-to-head tiebreaker with both Oklahoma and TCU. If they can get one more this afternoon against Oklahoma State, that would be huge. Oklahoma State also needs this win to stay in the Big 12 title hunt as well. Stay tuned for a wild second half.

No. 15 Iowa State sees Big 12 title hopes upended in loss at West Virginia

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No. 15 Iowa State found itself in a deep hole early and nearly climbed all the way out of it before ultimately falling 20-16 at West Virginia.

West Virginia was on its way to put an emphatic end to Iowa State’s miracle run after the Mountaineers jumped out to a 20-0 lead midway through the second quarter, thanks to a touchdown connection from Will Grier to David Sills, a 55-yard snatch-and-dash by Ka'Raun White and a pair of Evan Staley field goals.

But Iowa State wrapped a tourniquet around the bleeding and began clawing its way back. A 42-yard Garrett Owens field goal with 1:46 left before half got the Cyclones on the board. A 1-yard toss from Kyle Kempt (27-of-40 for 249 yards) to Allen Lazard on third-and-goal, completing a 10-play, 86-yard drive, pulled Iowa State within 10 early in the third quarter. An 18-yard Owens chip shot pulled Iowa State within one score late in the third, and the Cyclones appeared primed to tie the game by moving within the West Virginia 10 midway through the fourth quarter. But Iowa State could not break the end zone and instead settled for a third Owens field goal.

West Virginia moved in position to put the game away by moving to the ISU 33 with under five minutes left, but Grier’s (20-of-25 for 316 yards, two touchdowns) end zone heave to Sills was intercepted by Iowa State’s D’Andre Payne.

Iowa State moved to the WVU 37 with a chance to win the game on a touchdown, but Kempt’s third-and-7 pass to Lazard was dropped and his fourth down pass was broken up, handing the Mountaineers the ball inside Iowa State territory with 2:42 to play. The Cyclones immediately forced West Virginia into a third-and-17 — allowing thoughts of a punt or a long field goal to creep to mind — but Kennedy McKoy took a draw play around the left side for 17 yards and a game-clinching first down.

The loss denied Iowa State its first 7-2 start since 1976 and severely damaged the upstart Cyclones’ Big 12 championship hopes. Iowa State dropped to 4-2 in Big 12 play, one game behind Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU. Matt Campbell‘s crew holds a tiebreaker over the Sooners and Frogs and have yet to face Oklahoma State, but Iowa State now finds itself tied at 2-losses with West Virginia (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) and Texas — and both of those teams own the tiebreaker over Iowa State.