Cyclones Pull Off Thrilling 44-41 Upset in Triple OT
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Nebraska, Texas and now Iowa. Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads is knocking off the big boys one by one.
Now it looks like he has a quarterback who can pull off more than one stunner a season.
James White's 4-yard TD run in triple overtime pushed Iowa State past Iowa 44-41 on Saturday, snapping a three-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes in perhaps the most exciting game ever played between these heated rivals.
Cyclones quarterback Steele Jantz was brilliant in his second career game, completing 25 of 37 passes for 279 yards and four touchdowns while giving Rhoads a win to match upsets at Nebraska in 2009 and Texas in 2010.
It also gave a much-needed boost to a program dealing with the uncertainty surrounding the Big 12's future.
"We needed it. I needed it. The fans needed it," Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard said. "It's been a tough couple of weeks. It hasn't been a very fun couple of weeks. But it was fun (Saturday)."
Neither defense had much left by the time the game went into overtime tied at 24.
The Cyclones finally got a stop in triple overtime, holding the Hawkeyes to a field goal and setting up White's winning run.
Iowa went ahead 41-38 on Mike Meyer's 34-yard field goal. But Jantz found Darius Darks for a 9-yard completion on third down, and White dashed for the corner of the end zone for the victory.
Iowa's Marcus Coker had 140 yards rushing on 35 carries, including a 4-yard TD run to open overtime. Jantz answered on fourth down with a 4-yard touchdown to Darius Reynolds to tie it at 31.
White's 1-yard run put the Cyclones on top 38-31 in double overtime. Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg responded with a 23-yard TD pass to Keenan Davis to tie it back up.
But Jantz — who rallied Iowa State to a 20-19 win over FCS Northern Iowa with a TD pass and run in the final 4:30 — was just too much for the Hawkeyes to handle.
"He clearly made a big step (Saturday). We didn't have an answer for him, run or pass," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Iowa took a 24-17 lead on Coker's 1-yard TD run with 5:50 left in the fourth quarter, which looked like it might decide the game. But Iowa State responded, tying the game at 24-all with 1:17 left in regulation on Jantz's 4-yard TD pass to Darks.
This was the first overtime game in 59 meetings between Iowa and Iowa State, who've played off and on since 1894.
And it wound up being the highest scoring one ever.
Iowa's sluggish offense sprung to life early in the fourth quarter on Coker's 1-yard run. Vandenberg's toss to Keenan Davis for a two-point conversion gave the Hawkeyes a 24-17 lead with 5:50 left.
Jantz was just getting started.
Jantz found Reynolds on a 40-yard toss, putting Iowa State at Iowa's 15-yard line, and converted a fourth-and-1 to keep the Cyclones' final drive of regulation going.
Jantz's game-tying touchdown throw highlighted the athleticism he showed all day. He looked right, avoided the rush, scrambled left and found Darks on the sidelines with a pinpoint toss.
"When the game was on the line, he was spectacular today," Rhoads said.
The Cyclones took their first lead with 2:02 left in the third quarter, when Jantz hit a wide-open Josh Lenz for an 8-yard TD to put Iowa State up 17-16 after Meyer had hit field goals of 20 and 50 yards for Iowa.
"We kept focusing on the task at hand, knowing that we had to take it one play at a time," Jantz said. "We kept doing that until someone broke and fortunately it was them."
Iowa looked set to run away from Iowa State in the opening half like it did in last year's 35-7 rout. But the Cyclones made up for a critical fumble in the second quarter to pull even by halftime.
The Hawkeyes moved down the field with ease on their first drive, and Vandenberg's 6-yard TD pass to Kevonte Martin-Manley — his first career catch — made it 7-0. Meyer's 42-yard field goal early in the second quarter pushed Iowa's lead to 10-0.
Shontrelle Johnson fumbled on Iowa State's second trip inside the red zone. But Coker gave it right back two plays later, and Jantz found Reynolds for an 11-yard touchdown pass to pull the Cyclones within 10-7 with 7:40 left in the first half.
Iowa hadn't allowed Iowa State to score a meaningful touchdown since 2006, but that toss was the first of many in a game neither side of this in-state rivalry will ever forget.
"Hands down, it was the greatest game I've ever been involved with," Iowa State offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele said. "You don't really get games like that too often. It was crazy."
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