The 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational presented by STAT BOX STORIES continues with the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, which matches up the Iowa State Cyclones (6-6, 3-6 Big 12) and Tulsa Golden Hurricane (10-3, 7-1 C-USA). STAT BOX STORIES owner Brian Parker took control of the reigning Conference USA champion Tulsa, hoping to avenge their season-opening loss to Iowa State in this postseason rematch.
Golden Hurricane avenge loss to Cyclones with 35 first-half points in Liberty Bowl
Memphis, T.N. – For the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, a season-opening trip to Ames, Iowa, ended in disappointment with a loss to the Cyclones of Iowa State, 38-23. After that game, the teams went in drastically different directions; Iowa State finished at .500 and suffered in the Big 12, while Tulsa rattled off 7 straight victories before losing to Arkansas. Even with a Conference USA title fresh in the mind of Tulsa fans, the opportunity to avenge one of their three losses on the season was a major motivating factor.
If that much wasn’t clear by kickoff, it was soon afterward. Tulsa scored the first 28 points of the game, including 21 in the first quarter alone. The Golden Hurricane started the scoring on an 8-yard rush by QB #7, then followed that up with an 80-yard pass from QB #7 to WR #1 to go up 14-0. On the ensuing kickoff, Iowa State lost a fumble and Tulsa was right back in business. Shortly thereafter, a 19-yard touchdown pass to WR #12 had the Golden Hurricane up and up big.
The second quarter opened quietly after the scoring dramatics of the first, but with 2:30 remaining in the half QB #7 found TE #41 for a 31-yard touchdown pass to get the lead up to 28-0. Iowa State managed to drive and kick a 33-yard field goal with 24 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 28-3, but Tulsa took advantage of a tired Cyclones defense to score yet another long touchdown—this time a 75-yard pass to WR #1 with 13 seconds remaining—to go up 35-3 at the half.
In the third quarter, Iowa State finally found the end zone on a 30-yard pass from QB #2 to WR #88, trimming the deficit to 25 points. Later on in the quarter, QB #7 of Tulsa made his first mistake of the game in throwing an interception at the Iowa State 2-yard-line, losing a chance at more scoring and giving the Cyclones the ball.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, however, an option run which started in Iowa State’s end zone never made it out past the goal line as Tulsa CB #7 got the quarterback sack and two points on the safety. The rest of the quarter played out conservatively, though Tulsa did tack on a 14-yard touchdown run by HB #22 in the waning moments to set the game’s final score, 44-10.
For much of the game, Tulsa looked like the hungrier team, with more motivation to be found based on the early season result between the two schools. That hunger and motivation fueled this Conference USA upset of a Big 12 team, sending Tulsa fans home happy from the Liberty Bowl.
Player of the Game: Tulsa QB #7, who was 11-for-15 passing for 318 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown to offset an interception thrown late in the game.
It was over when… Iowa State fumbled the kickoff return after Tulsa’s second touchdown at 2:26 in the first quarter. The Golden Hurricane scored less than a minute later to go up 21-0.
Game Ball goes to… Tulsa WR #19, whose 5 receptions were good for 218 yards and two touchdowns for the game.
Stat of the Game: 326. That was the quarterback rating for Tulsa QB #7, who threw for 318 yards on 11 completions and 4 touchdowns.
Statistical Tidbits: Tulsa had two fewer First Downs than Iowa State, but five of their offensive scoring plays were for 10 yards or more. … The Golden Hurricane out-gained Iowa State on the ground, 180 to 31. The two teams were nearly identical through the air—Iowa State had 315 passing yards to Tulsa’s 318—but the Cyclones completed 22 passes to get to that number while Tulsa only completed 11 passes. … Each team was at about a 50% third down conversion rate, while Iowa State was 1-for-2 on fourth down and Tulsa was 3-for-4. … Iowa State had three red zone attempts but only managed a field goal. Tulsa had three red zone touchdowns on four opportunities, and their missed opportunity was the interception which was immediately followed by a safety. … The Cyclones lost 2 fumbles, while Tulsa threw 1 interception. … Each team was penalized 4 times; Iowa State lost 33 yards due to penalty, while Tulsa lost 30. … Tulsa nearly doubled up possession on Iowa State, holding the ball on offense for 18:08 compared to Iowa State’s 9:52.