Cyclones stumble late, fall to Cowboys in Ames


Iowa State’s Joel Lanning (7) scores a touchdown against Oklahoma State’s defense on Saturday November 14, 2015 during the first quarter in Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa. The Cyclones led the Cowboys 24-14 going into the half during their last home game of the regular season.

Max Dible

The Cyclones were that close to a monumental finish to the 2015 football season at the revamped Jack Trice Stadium.

Dale Pierson tied a school record for sacks with 8.5. Mike Warren became the first ISU running back to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in six years. And the Cyclones were tied or led in a game against undefeated, No. 5 Oklahoma State for nearly 57 minutes.

But Iowa State (3-7, 2-5 Big 12) came up just short against Oklahoma State (10-0, 7-0 Big 12), falling to the Cowboys, 35-31. The loss effectively ended the Cyclones’ chances at a bowl game this year, guaranteeing that even if Iowa State wins out, the best the team can finish is 5-7.

The Cyclones were nearing their own 40-yard line after falling behind late in the fourth quarter when the coaching staff, which had called a successful game up to that point, faltered.

Iowa State threw an incomplete pass on 3rd and 1, and Warren, who tweaked his back earlier in the game, was stuffed on a fourth-down run. The Cyclones got the ball back with 1:44 remaining in the game, but started the drive from their own five-yard line with no timeouts.

Lanning threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage on that drive, ending Iowa State’s hopes at the improbable upset.

The Cyclones kept the game close all day and into the night, though, thanks to its offense. The ISU offense came out on a mission in the first half, scoring on four of five drives and carrying a 24-14 lead into the locker room.

Lanning continued to struggle with short-armed throws, completing only 11-of-22 passes for 162 yards but made up for it on the ground, rushing for 130 yards on 14 carries and finding the end zone twice. He also had a passing touchdown to match the game-clinching interception he threw in the fourth quarter.

The ISU defense held the Cowboys to less than 500 yards of total offense in the game, but its ultimate undoing came on third downs, where it allowed Oklahoma State to convert 11-of-17 tries, including a 3rd and 15 on the game-winning drive.

The Cyclones travel to Manhattan, Kan., next week to take on Kansas State. Iowa State will finish the season on the road at West Virginia.