2020 hasn’t been a great year for most folks, but Iowa State fans might feel differently right now.
The Iowa State Cyclones beat the Texas Longhorns 23-20 on Saturday for their first win in Austin since 2010 and in the process essentially punched their ticket to a Big 12 Championship game appearance. It is also the first time ever Iowa State beat Oklahoma and Texas in the same season.
For Iowa State, they are inching closer towards their first conference title since 1912 as they have a 99% chance of making the conference title in Arlington, TX.
The Cyclones trailed the first 58 minutes of the game before finally taking the lead with 1:44 to play as Breece Hall’s three-yard touchdown run capped off a five-play, 69-yard drive to go up 23-20, which would end up as the final score in Austin.
In a week where Breece Hall was finally getting Heisman odds, he didn’t have his best game, finishing with 20 carries for 91 yards, but it was only right for him to put the Cyclones in the lead in the final minutes.
Brock Purdy had himself an efficient game at quarterback, going 25/36 for 312 yards and a score, while his tight end Charlie Kolar, his favorite target of the season, had six catches for 131 yards.
The Cyclones season continues to have a feeling of destiny. Even in the final moments, Texas kicker Cameron Dicker had a 57-yard field goal to send the game to overtime, but there was too much draw on the kick, which missed wide left as time expired. This was Iowa State’s fourth win by a touchdown or less on the season.
The game was Texas QB Sam Ehlinger’s last home game in the Burnt Orange and it’s one of the most painful losses of his career as the game eliminated Texas from Big 12 title contention. Of course, another question that now lingers is what this means for Tom Herman’s future in Austin. Is he done? Will he get to 2021?
That remains to be seen. But the reality is Herman had the best QB at Texas since Colt McCoy and never won a Big 12 Championship with him. He made his coordinator changes this season and that did not make enough of a difference to get Texas over the hump in 2020. Yes, the pandemic has changed the coaching carousel, but at Texas, the money is always flowing and if there is actually interest from Urban Meyer, than watch out.
But the story in the Big 12 this fall is Iowa State and how Matt Campbell has continued his progress with the program. The season-opening loss to Louisiana remains a head scratcher for this team, but the reality is the goal of a Big 12 title is now real.
And in a year that many have wanted to forget for obvious reasons, Iowa State fans will never want to forget 2020.
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