Iowa State beats Colorado
AMES, Iowa (AP) -- For some programs, reaching bowl eligibility is little more than a footnote. It's a much bigger deal for Iowa State. Picked to finish last in the Big 12 North, the Cyclones can at least dream of its first bowl bid since 2005 af...
AMES, Iowa (AP) -- For some programs, reaching bowl eligibility is little more than a footnote.
It's a much bigger deal for Iowa State.
Picked to finish last in the Big 12 North, the Cyclones can at least dream of its first bowl bid since 2005 after beating Colorado 17-10 on Saturday for their sixth win.
Austen Arnaud threw a pair of touchdown passes and Alexander Robinson added 138 yards rushing to go over 1,000 for the season for the Cyclones (6-5, 3-4 Big 12), who held the Buffaloes to just three points on three trips inside Iowa State's 10-yard line.
"We're working toward our expectations of what this football program should be all about," first-year Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "We're thrilled to be 6-5."
Arnaud threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Marquis Hamilton, and his 20-yard TD strike to Robinson gave Iowa State a 17-3 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Buffaloes pulled within 17-10 on a 36-yard TD pass from Tyler Hansen to Markques Simas with 3:17 left. They got the ball back at their own 20-yard line with 23 seconds left, but the Cyclones stopped a last-gasp scramble by the Buffs.
Hansen had 258 yards passing for Colorado (3-7, 2-4), which lost its 10th straight road game.
"We went from being one of the better teams in the red zone in the country to one of the worst," Colorado coach Dan Hawkins said.
Iowa State's defense, which was lit up for 69 points combined in back-to-back losses to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, buckled down and held the Buffaloes to their second-lowest point total of the season.
Though the Cyclones are now eligible for a bowl -- something few thought was possible this season -- they're not assured of a bid. They can help their cause by winning at Missouri in their regular-season finale next week.
Iowa State's last trip to a bowl game came four years ago, when the Cyclones lost to TCU 27-24 in what was then known as the Houston Bowl. Iowa State then went 9-27 from 2006-08 under Dan McCarney and Gene Chizik before this season's revival.
"To come full circle like that, just, there's no words. Just joy," Iowa State senior center Reggie Stephens said.
Colorado committed three turnovers in the second half, including two within the first 3½ minutes of the third quarter. Hansen was picked off by Nate Frere, and a Rodney Stewart fumble was recovered by Stephen Ruempolhamer at the Buffs' 33-yard line.
The Cyclones couldn't convert Frere's interception, but Arnaud later weathered a blitz and simply tossed the ball to a wide open Robinson, who ran it 20 yards to give Iowa State the 17-3 lead.
Colorado then drove to Iowa State's 9-yard line, but freshman offensive lineman Bryce Givens drew a personal foul penalty and an unsportsmanlike conduct flag for arguing the call. That pushed the Buffs to a 1st-and-goal at the 39, and Aric Goodman missed a 42-yard field goal with 2:23 left in the third quarter.
Iowa State also forced a Stewart fumble that was recovered by James Smith at the Cyclones' 15-yard line early in the fourth quarter.
Colorado outgained the Cyclones 390-310, but they went just 2-of-14 on third-down conversions and had 11 penalties for 110 yards. Scotty McKnight caught eight passes for 107 yards and Stewart rushed for 85 yards for the Buffs. Givens' penalties proved to be a major blow.
"Obviously, Bryce freaked out on us a little bit. That killed us," Hansen said. "We all know he's an emotional guy and his emotions got the best of him."
Arnaud hooked up with Hamilton for an apparent 77-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but the officials ruled that Hamilton pushed off his defender and called it back. Iowa State shook it off, and Arnaud hit Hamilton with an 8-yard touchdown pass -- the first TD for the Cyclones in the opening quarter in five games -- and Iowa State went ahead 7-0.
Arnaud was then picked off deep in Iowa State territory, but the Cyclones stuffed Demetrius Sumler on 4th-and-goal at the 1-yard line. Iowa State again stopped Colorado again deep in Cyclones territory, but Goodman's 22-yard field goal pulled the Buffs within 7-3 midway through the second quarter.
Iowa State's Grant Mahoney answered with a 25-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to put Iowa State ahead 10-3.