Cyclone Upset Bid Falls Short in Overtime, 31-30
AMES, Iowa- Iowa State fell short in overtime after Daniel Kuehl's pass on a fake extra-point try was intercepted by Nebraska's Eric Hagg to allow the ninth-ranked Cornhuskers to escape with a 31-30 win Saturday afternoon in Jack Trice Stadium.
It was an exciting end to a series that dates back to 1896 and one which has been played annually since 1926. The Cyclones gave the nationally-ranked Cornhuskers all they could handle in the series finale, bouncing back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime at 24-24.
The Cyclones answered Nebraska's initial touchdown in the overtime period with a nine-yard touchdown catch by Jake Williams from Austen Arnaud to make it 31-30. Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads chose to go for the win, as the holder Kuehl took the snap and attempted to find Collin Franklin in the end zone. Franklin had a step and was open, but the pass was underthrown and Hagg picked it off to thwart Iowa State's upset bid.
Iowa State dips to 5-5 overall and 3-3 in the Big 12, while Nebraska improves to 8-1 overall and 4-1 in league play.
The Iowa State offense dominated in the first half, recording 13 first downs and 192 yards of offense while taking a 10-7 lead at intermission.
Nebraska got on the board first after converting an Iowa State fumble into a touchdown. Iowa State was driving deep into NU territory, but Jeff Woody fumbled at the 22-yard line. NU then went 79 yards, all on the ground, in 12 plays to go up 7-0 with 13:13 left in the second half. Roy Helu ran it in from six yards out to cap off the drive.
The Cyclone offense continued to move the chains and answered two possessions later on a 7-play, 47-yard drive to make it 7-7 with 6:38 left before intermission. Arnaud found Williams in the corner of the end zone to knot the score.
Iowa State was able to take the lead right before half after NU's Helu fumbled at the NU 42-yard line. Moments later Grant Mahoney drilled a career-long 57-yard field goal, his fourth 50-yarder of his career, with 0:57 left before the half. It was the fourth-longest field goal in school history.
The third quarter was all Nebraska, as the Cornhuskers scored 17 points to take a 24-10 lead. NU took advantage of two Arnaud interceptions, as Austin Cassidy picked off an Arnaud pass and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. Rex Burkhead later scored from two yards out to increase the NU lead to 24-10 with 5:06 left in the third quarter.
The resilient Cyclones didn't back down, however. Iowa State mounted a superb drive capped off by an Arnaud 1-yard sneak to cut the lead to 24-17 with 11:29 left in the game. On the ensuing kickoff, NU's Niles Paul fumbled on the return where it was recovered by Iowa State's Deon Broomfield at the 13-yard line. Three plays later Arnaud found Robinson in the corner of the end zone on a 14-yard pass to tie the game at 24-24 with 10:40 left in the game.
After Iowa State forced Nebraska to punt on back-to-back possessions, the Cyclones had a chance to take the lead on a Mahoney field goal attempt, but his kick from 55 yards was short with 3:19 left in regulation.
NU took over on downs at the NU 37-yard-line with just under three minutes to play in the game. The Cyclone defense held, forcing the Cornhuskers to punt and sending the game into overtime.
Robinson finished the game with 101 yards rushing en route to his third-straight 100-yard game and the 13th of his career. Arnaud finished with 63 yards rushing and 203 yards through the air, including three touchdown tosses. Arnaud now has 42 career touchdown strikes to rank second all-time in school history.
Iowa State outgained Nebraska, 360-314 in total offense.
David Sims led the Cyclones with 13 tackles.
Iowa State travels to Colorado next weekend, facing the Buffaloes in Boulder, Colo., for what could be the final time as well. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.