FINAL: West Virginia 31, Iowa State 24


ISU quarterback Sam Richardson looks to run past West Virginia Mountaineer linebacker Jared Barber on Friday, Nov. 23, at Jack Trice Stadium. Richardson led the Cyclones in rushing for the game, running for 119 yards.

Stephen Koenigsfeld

Iowa State fell to West Virginia in its regular season finale 31-24. The game was the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

West Virginia (6-5, 3-5 Big 12) came out firing on its opening drive with a 9-play, 42-yard campaign that resulted in a 42-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead.

The Mountaineers continued to own the battle at the line of scrimmage on offense, accumulating seven first downs in their first two drives.

Quarterback Sam Richardson got the first start of his career after his five-touchdown performance against Kansas last week. The redshirt freshman played the first quarter calmly and collectedly before pulling the trigger too early on plays and scrambling with options wide open in a more frantic manner.

Iowa State (6-6, 3-6) finally got on the board midway through the second quarter with a 10-play, 69-yard drive that resulted in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Richardson to redshirt senior receiver Jerome Tiller. The touchdown reception was the first-ever for Tiller, who converted from quarterback to receiver after spending the 2011 season academically ineligible.

West Virginia answered, however, with an 8-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that took up almost four minutes in time of possession. At the end of the half, Smith’s stat line read 11-of-16 in passing for 105 yards and one touchdown.

Richardson went out gunning for a last-second scoring drive to close the half, finding Josh Lenz in the end zone after scrambling 21 yards on fourth down with a six-man blitz in his face. With that score, the Cyclones entered the locker room trailing 17-14.

Richardson finished the half 9-of-17 for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

After coming back onto the field, the ISU defense was able to hold the Mountaineers to just another field goal after they ate up seven and a half minutes off the clock. The Mountaineers took a slightly larger lead, 20-14.

The Cyclones were able to respond with a 35-yard strike from Richardson to Quenton Bundrage. Richardson achieved 11 rushing yards, a first down and a touchdown on the drive.

The Cyclones took their first lead of the game, 21-20, after the Bundrage score.

One of the more exciting happenings in the third quarter came late when ISU punter Kirby Van Der Kamp decided to fake the punt and run in for a first down on fourth-and-14. 

The Cyclones ended up turning the ball over on downs later that drive.

Heading into the fourth quarter, Richardson was 11-of-24 with 149 yards and three touchdowns. WVU quarterback Geno Smith, who was an early season Heisman Trophy candidate, was 18-of-25 with 140 yards and a touchdown.

The two defense held each other until midway through the fourth quarter when the Cyclones and Mountaineers were able to score for the first time since the lead change.

A punt returned for a touchdown was revoked by a penalty earlier in the drive for the Mountaineers. Despite the setback, the ISU defense was able to hold the Mountaineers to a field goal, making it still an attainable victory, 21-23.

After a few first downs, the Cyclones managed their way to the WVU 29-yard line, where Arceo booted a 49-yard field goal to put the Cyclones back in the lead, 24-23.

With 6:42 left in the game, the Mountaineers took one play to get back into the end zone. Austin got a burst and shot in fro 75 yards out. 

After a two-point conversion, the Mountaineers went up 31-24.

The Cyclones took over at their own 35-yard line with 6:25 left in the game. On a third down scramble, Richardson came up short, but achieved a face-mask penalty that kept the drive alive.

The Cyclones were set up for a potential game-winning touchdown when running back Jeff Woody fumbled the ball into the end zone, setting the Mountaineers up at their own 25-yard line after the resulting touchback.

The Mountaineers were successful in running the rest of the time off the clock and would eventually take the victory from the Cyclones in their first-ever meeting. 

The Cyclones became bowl-eligible with a win against conference foe Kansas the week prior and will find out where they will play their bowl game within the next couple weeks.

Post-game chatter

There wasn’t much of it. ISU coach Paul Rhoads and players found it hard to answer questions after the game. Most said they were shocked by the outcome.

“There’s so many games we left out there that we could have had. But that’s in the past and we have to look forward to the bowl game and winning that.” – Wide reciever Jerome Tiller on a season recap.

“We lost a few games that we shouldn’t have and you can chalk this up as another one. To take the next step as a program, we are going to have to finish games like this and not self-inflict things on ourselves.” – Offensive lineman Tom Farniok on the final outcome of the game.

“That’s pretty much it. Just wanted to win it for them [the seniors] and go out on a good note.” – Quarterback Sam Richardson on the game.