For the second straight week, the Iowa State football team put everything together in all phases of the game and pulled out their best win of the season in the finale at West Virginia. It was a 52-44 final after three overtime sessions.
The Cyclones (3-9, 2-7) gave up plenty of big plays throughout the day, not being able to match up to the Mountaineers (4-8, 2-7) early and their players” breakaway speed. But down by 17 in the game during the fourth quarter, their defense stepped up to force two turnovers and the offense scored 24 points to send the game into overtime.
Once in overtime, both teams went back and forth with field goals for the first two sessions. In the third overtime, Iowa State quarterback Grant Rohach found wide receiver Justin Coleman wide open in the endzone and scored a touchdown on the first play. That was Coleman’s second touchdown of the day, and his third of the entire season.
West Virginia wasn’t able to match it, with Daikiel Shorts getting the ball around the two yard line on fourth-and-goal, but not being able to move forward to get an attempt for a tying two-point conversion.
Rohach had a good day throwing the ball again, completing 25 of 39 passes for 331 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. He had 19 more attempts compared to the win against Kansas, so he wasn’t near as efficient but was clutch in the fourth quarter comeback.
It’s Rohach’s second consecutive game with 300 or more passing yards, and he’s impressed throughout the month of November.
Shontrelle Johnson led the Cyclones in rushing again with a team-high 72 yards on 18 carries and getting a touchdown. Rohach was second, but that was mostly on his 54-yard scamper at the end of the first quarter to get ISU on the board.
Aaron Wimberly finished the day with 15 carries for 52 yards, but his contribution was vital. As a team, the Cyclones had 244 total rushing yards, which was more than West Virginia’s dangerous combo of Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith, who finished with 209 yards combined. Sims had the bulk of the carries (24 of 29) and had two touchdowns.
Two Iowa State receivers, Coleman and Quenton Bundrage, neared the century mark in receiving with 93 and 91 yards, respectively. Both had two touchdowns a piece to account for Rohach’s four total TD throws.
Finally, let’s not forget about Cole Netten. Field goal kicking hasn’t been brought up much this season, except the atrocity at Tulsa, but Netten made his last three attempts after missing the first two. He stepped up to help the Cyclones in their big win.
It’s a tremendous way to end the season after heartbreaks and blowouts. Some people didn’t anticipate that this team would win a Big 12 game. Now, looking back, Iowa State had enough chances to get to a bowl game but weren’t good enough to win the close games, and started to fade into mediocrity during the course of the season.
For now, the coaches, players, and fans can celebrate an exciting finish to the season. Most teams with only one win headed into the final weeks are filled with players that quit. Paul Rhoads never let that happen, and the Cyclones were finally rewarded with a couple of victories.
- Cyclones RB Jeff Woody almost had another heartbreaker against the Mountaineers. He fumbled the ball near the goal line last year, and he did it again in the second overtime after WVU scored a field goal. Luckily, ISU was able to grab it to continue the drive.
- Mountaineers QB Clint Trickett started the game after being cleared by doctors. He completed 21 of 37 passs for 356 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions.
- Iowa State tried another fake punt – this time, deep in their territory – and it worked. Kirby Van Der Kamp scampered for 17 yards to just get a first down, which sparked the comeback attempt.