MORGANTOWN, W. Va. Trailing by three scores, and looking at a 2-10 record, the ISU football team looked all but finished last night.
But Coach Paul Rhoads and Co. didn't go quietly into the offseason and spoiled senior night for West Virginia.
The Cyclones, ranked 97th in the nation in scoring, came from 31-7 down with a furious fourth-quarter comeback and beat the Mountaineers, 52-44, in triple overtime.
Iowa State won the game on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Grant Rohach to Justin Coleman and Rohach's two-point conversion pass to E.J. Bibbs.
West Virginia's final chance failed on an incomplete pass by quarterback Clint Trickett.
The teams had traded field goals in the first two overtimes.
Iowa State won its second straight game to finish 3-9 overall and 2-7 in the Big 12, while the Mountaineers closed at 4-8 and 2-7.
A crowd of 33,735, second lowest in Milan Puskar Stadium history, saw West Virginia lose this game in the closing minutes.
Rohach passed for 330 yards and four touchdowns while also running for a 54-yard score.
Mario Alford, who had been coming on all season as he got accustomed to West Virginia football after playing junior college ball, caught eight passes for 215 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown and senior running back Charles Sims surpassed 1,000 yards rushing.
Sims gained 149 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown run, to become West Virginia's first 1,000-yard rusher since Noel Devine in 2009.
Trickett, who missed the last game because of a concussion, came back to quarterback West Virginia, completing 21 of 37 passes for 356 yards and two touchdowns.
Iowa State had trailed, 17-0 and 31-7, before rallying in the fourth quarter to tie the game, 38-38, as Rohach hit Justin Coleman with a 19-yard touchdown pass.
Iowa State scored 17 points in the final 9:38. The 17-point fourth-quarter comeback tied the team's longest in school history.
Shontelle Johnson opened the fourth-quarter scoring with a 3-yard run, and Rohach hit Quenton Brundage with a 62-yard scoring pass.
West Virginia gave it one final try, with a Hail Mary pass being intercepted at the gun after the Mountaineers somehow took a delay of game penalty out of two consecutive time outs to kill any chance they had a miracle field goal.
The teams traded field goals in the first overtime, West Virginia's third overtime game of the season.
Iowa State's win marked the only back-to-back wins for the Cyclones this season the worst under Rhoads as head coach.