Cyclones Fall To Tulsa At AutoZone Liberty Bowl
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Iowa State came out hot and led by as many 10 points in the first quarter of Monday's AutoZone Liberty Bowl against Tulsa. However, Iowa State (6-7 overall, 3-6 Big 12 Conference) was held scoreless in the final three quarters of the game en route to a 31-17 defeat to the Golden Hurricane in front of 53,687 fans that were mostly clad in cardinal and gold.
Tulsa, the reigning Conference USA champion, did its damage on the ground with 317 yards. AutoZone Liberty Bowl Most Valuable Player Trey Watts registered 149 yards on the ground and averaged six yards per carry. Tulsa (11-3 overall, 7-1 Conference USA)running back Alex Singleton was a bruising force for the Golden Hurricane and registered three touchdowns.
The Cyclones split time at quarterback. Redshirt freshman Sam Richardson went 10-for-21 with a touchdown and an interception for 129 yards. Senior Steele Jantz came in during the fourth quarter and went 4-for-7 for 41 yards with an interception. Richardson led the Cyclones in rushing with 46 yards. Ernst Brun had a career-high 102 yards receiving and a 69-yard touchdown. Brun was named Iowa State's offensive player of the game.
Senior linebacker A.J. Klein finished his Cyclone career with a career-high and AutoZone Liberty Bowl-record-tying 19 tackles.
The Cyclones returned the opening kickoff and drove 56 yards on nine plays. The key play was a 26-yard reception from Josh Lenz. The drive resulted in Edwin Arceo connecting on a 33-yard field goal to give Iowa State a 3-0 lead with 10:47 left in the first quarter.
Senior Jeremy Reeves intercepted a Cody Green pass and returned it 31 yards for a Cyclone touchdown. The pick was the fifth of Reeves' career and his second for touchdown. Reeves was named Iowa State's defensive player of the game.
Tulsa responded with a nine-play 75-yard drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown rush from Alex Singleton. Tulsa's touchdown cut down the Cyclones' lead to 10-7 with 4:47 left in the first quarter.
Richardson connected with Brun for a 69-yard touchdown pass with 3:46 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown was the longest pass of Richardson's career and gave the Cyclones a 17-7 lead.
Iowa State's 17 first-quarter points tied for the most in AutoZone Liberty Bowl history.
Tulsa took little time to score in the second quarter when Green went virtually untouched up the middle for an eight-yard touchdown rush. Green's touchdown cut Iowa State's lead to 17-14 with 14:33 remaining in the first half. Tulsa gained its first lead of the game when Singleton scored on a two-yard rush with 11:10 left in the first stanza. The Golden Hurricane led 21-17 after Singleton's touchdown.
The score would remain 21-17 at the half. In the first half, Iowa State led in total yards (204-202) with 121 yards through the air and 83 on the ground.
Iowa State's second half would resemble its second quarter, as the Cyclones were held scoreless and rarely threatened to score a touchdown. Tulsa tallied scores via a one-yard rush from Singleton with 1:50 left in the third quarter and a 40-yard field goal from Daniel Schwarz with 12:49 left in the game.