Iowa State scored 17 points in the first 11 minutes and change of Monday's Liberty Bowl - and then didn't score again. The end result was 24 unanswered points by Tulsa and a 31-17 Golden Hurricane victory in Memphis, Tenn. The loss was ISU's second straight in a bowl game and dropped the Cyclones to 6-7 for their final record, also for the second season in a row.
Tulsa's offense ground out over 300 rushing yards in the game and the Hurricane defense held Iowa State to nine first downs and 268 total yards - over half of which came in the first quarter alone. The Cyclones also got a defensive touchdown in their 17-point first quarter, but TU dominated the game for the final three quarters to improve its final season record to 11-3.
Jeremy Reeves' 31-yard interception return for a touchdown staked Iowa State to an early 10-0 lead with 7:44 to go in the first quarter. The Cyclones got three points on their opening offensive possession with Edwin Arceo knocking home a 33-yard field goal at the 10:47 mark of the first quarter.
Tulsa responded after Reeves' pick six with a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive. Power back Alex Singleton scored on a two-yard TD run to make it 10-7 with 4:47 left in the first quarter.
But Iowa State had a quick and loud answer as Sam Richardson completed a 69-yard touchdown pass to Ernst Brun on the second play of the Cyclones' next possession. The big play ended up accounting for over a fourth of ISU's total offense for the whole game. But at the time, it looked like Iowa State was going to put up big numbers on the day. It led 17-7 with almost four minutes still left to play in the first quarter.
Tulsa owned the second quarter with a pair of touchdowns and a missed Iowa State field goal. The Hurricane got an eight-yard TD run from quarterback Cody Green in the opening minute of the second quarter to make it 17-14. TU scored again just over three minutes later on another two-yard run by Singleton with 11:10 to go in the first half. That made it 21-17 Hurricane and that score held up until halftime.
It wasn't until late in the third quarter that Tulsa scored what proved to be the pivotal points in the game. Helped by a personal foul penalty on Iowa State's Cleyon Laing that gave the Hurricane a new set of downs in the ISU red zone, TU went for it on 4th-and-goal from the one-yard line and scored on another Singleton TD blast. Tulsa led, 28-17, with 1:10 to go in the third quarter.
Tulsa scored the only points of the fourth quarter on a 40-yard Daniel Schwarz field goal with 12:49 left in the game.
Iowa State finished with 268 yards, only 133 coming in the final three quarters. The Cyclones rushed for only 98 yards and passed for 170. Tulsa had 317 rushing yards and 410 total yards in the game.
Senior A.J. Klein racked up 19 tackles in his final game as a Cyclone. Sophomore linebacker Jevohn Miller had 12 tackles and safety Jacques Washington had nine stops.
Ernst Brun caught four passes for 102 yards for Iowa State, including the 69-yarder for a touchdown.