AMES , IA – Sure, maybe College GameDay wasn’t in Ames, Iowa this weekend but make no mistake, Cyclone fans were in full force at Jack Trice Stadium to cheer on their Cyclones in the second biggest Big 12 game of the weekend. In fact, after talking with a few media members, this appeared to be one of the best crowds in the month of November in Ames. Inside this beautiful stadium, there was football to be played between Texas and Iowa State.
Entering this match up, Texas was fresh off their big win against Kansas State that launched them all the way up to 19th in College Football Playoff Rankings with a 6-3 record. Meanwhile, Iowa State was still coming off its heartbreaking loss as they sat at 5-4 still looking for that win to get them bowl eligible for the third-straight season.
For nearly the entire first half, the Cyclones came out as the aggressor. Right off the bat, the Iowa State defense got a quick three and out and strung together a nice eight-play drive that resulted in a two-yard touchdown pass from Brock Purdy to tight end Charlie Kolar to put Iowa State up 7-0. The Cyclones used a heavy dose of the run game with Breece Hall to set up the short score and with the touchdown, quarterback Brock Purdy broke Iowa State’s single-season touchdown passing record with 21 touchdown passes on the year.
Both sides would punt trade a pair of punts before a big play would happen. Early in the second quarter, Brock Purdy was picked off by Texas corner D’Shawn Jamison and Texas took over at the Iowa State 39-yard line. But inside the Cyclone 30-yard line, the Longhorns would face a fourth and short and the Cyclones would pull of a fantastic defensive stand as quarterback Sam Ehlinger was stuffed trying to get the first down.
Just two drives later, the Cyclones would find the scoreboard once again as Connor Assalley drilled a 35-yard field goal attempt to put his team on top 10-0 with just 47 seconds left in the first half. Maybe that woke Texas up or something because the Longhorn offense would finally start moving the football. Of course, Iowa State playing a bit of a prevent defense would help too. Shortly after making one toe-tapping catch down the Iowa State sideline, Texas wide out Brennan Eagles made another near the goal line as he just barely got his one foot down while making a grab. However, after review, the catch was ruled a touchdown with just seventeen seconds left in the first half and the half ended with Iowa State leading 10-7.
I think it was safe to say that Iowa State completely dominated the first half yet only led by three at halftime. Outside of the final first-half drive by Texas, the Longhorns did nothing, but one could argue Iowa State defensive coordinator Jon Heacock played thing a little too safe at the end of the half.
However, the Cyclones opened the second half with a huge play as Brock Purdy found a wide open Deshaunte Jones for a 75-yard score and within seconds of the third quarter, Iowa State was up 17-7. After yet another Texas three and out, the Cyclones were able to put three more on the board after a Brayden Narveson 48-yard field goal to make it a 20-7 game early in the third quarter. On the following Iowa State possession, the Cyclones faced a 4th and 5 at the Texas 31-yard line and they elected to try a fake field goal, but it resulted in an incomplete pass as Texas would take over on downs. However, Texas once again couldn’t do anything on offense, and they went three and out yet again after the big stop.
The Longhorns would start to wake up late in the third quarter as Texas went on a nice 10-play drive that ended up with a touchdown as Sam Ehlinger found running back Keaontay Ingram for a 22-yard touchdown pass. With 14:50 left in the game, Texas trailed Iowa State 20-14.
The Texas offense wouldn’t stop just there. Down by six, Sam Ehlinger led the charge to march the Texas offense down the field and 15 plays later, Sam Ehlinger made the play of the game for Texas as he spun out of pressure and found tight end Malcom Epps for a seven-yard touchdown on 4th and goal. That score put the Longhorns up 21-20 with just 5:37 left to play as Texas took six minutes and 43 seconds off the clock.
After holding Iowa State on offense, Texas would get the ball back at their own 15-yard line with four minutes left but went three and out to give the Cyclones the football back with three minutes left to play. As Iowa State moved along down the field, Texas got a key stop on third down and the Cyclones faced a 4th and 5 on the Texas 25-yard line. Just as Iowa State was lining up for a field goal, a Texas player jumped offsides and just like that, Iowa State had a fresh set of downs. The Cyclones were then able to set up a 36-yard field goal by Connor Assalley who split the uprights as the Cyclones won 23-21.
With the win, Iowa State becomes bowl eligible for the third season in a row and Matt Campbell has now beaten every team in the conference, as Texas was the one win missing from his resume. As for Texas, this was a crushing loss and now their Big 12 title dreams are likely just that… a dream at this point, as they fall to 6-4 and 4-3 in Big 12 play with two games left.
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