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Recap: Close, But No Cigar as Oklahoma State Comes Back to Win Late Against Iowa State

The Cyclones held a big lead in the first half, but the Cowboys rallied back to avoid another upset in Jack Trice Stadium.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

All week long, the national media trumpeted the parallels that this matchup held with the two overtime victory Iowa State had over No. 2 Oklahoma State in 2011. On that fateful night in November, the Cyclones rallied from a 17 point deficit to overcome a Cowboys team that just had to beat ISU and Oklahoma to secure their spot in the National Championship.

Unfortunately for Mike Gundy's team, the team they least expected to lose to ended up handing them their only loss of the season. The week after losing 37-31 to Iowa State, OSU blasted the Sooners 44-10 and were left forever wondering "what if" they had won against the Cyclones.

However, Coach Gundy's squad avoided the same fate they succumbed to in 2011, as they rallied back from a 17 point Iowa State lead today to remain undefeated with a 35-31 victory.

ISU came out of the gates and immediately punched the Cowboys in the mouth, striking quickly on a six play, 75 yard touchdown drive that culminated in a 24 yard Joel Lanning touchdown run. The redshirt sophomore quarterback kept the ball on a zone read and rumbled into the end zone to give ISU a 7-0 lead.

That lead didn't last long, however, as OSU answered with an 81 yard touchdown drive of their own. The score came on a 16 yard pass from quarterback Mason Rudolph to wide receiver Marcell Ateman. Rudolph connected with Ateman on four separate occasions on the drive, showing confidence in the 6-foot-4 Ateman's ability to match up with ISU's secondary.

The next 17 points came from the Todd Sturdy-led Iowa State offense. Scores came on a 24 yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard, a 21 yard Cole Netten field goal and a 1 yard Joshua Thomas touchdown run.

The final score of the first half came on a long, clock-draining drive from Oklahoma State. The 16 play possession took 7:15 off the clock in the second quarter and resulted in a 1 yard touchdown run from Chris Carson that cut the lead to 24-14. That ended up being the halftime tally.

Coming out of the locker room, the Cowboys got the ball and scored on another long TD drive. This time, it took 6:16 off the clock after 14 plays and 92 yards. The 1 yard J.W. Walsh touchdown run was set up by a 32 yard pass from Rudolph to Ateman that brought Oklahoma State all the way down to the goal line. Following the Walsh conversion, the score stood at 24-21 in favor of the Cyclones.

The Iowa State offense was forced to punt on their next possession, and to make it worse, star running back Mike Warren had to leave the game due to leg injury (he later returned). However, three plays into the following OSU drive, linebacker Levi Peters stripped the ball from Blake Jarwin's hands and fell on it, giving ISU great field position at the opponent's 38 yard line. Lanning took matters into his own hands after that, galloping for runs of 17 and 21 yards, the latter for another Cyclone touchdown to push the lead to 31-21 with just over two minutes left in the 3rd quarter.

Both teams failed to score on their next possession, but OSU put together a drive that made it 31-28 the first time they got the ball in the 4th quarter. Walsh ran the ball in nearly untouched from the 16 yard line for Oklahoma State's fourth touchdown of the evening.

The Cowboys' defense stopped Iowa State's offense at the 50 yard line and forced Coach Rhoads to trot out the punt team. A personal foul penalty pushed OSU into a 1st and 25 situation. They ended up gaining a large chunk of the distance on 3rd down, then Rudolph connected with David Glidden over the middle for a huge gain that put Oklahoma State all the way down on the ISU 39 yard line. Five plays later, Rudolph hit Carson on a pass out of the backfield, and the running back lunged into the end zone to give Oklahoma State their first lead of the game, 35-31.

Trever Ryen ran the ensuing kick out to the 28 yard line, and the ISU offense took the field down four points with three minutes left in the game. After two complete passes, Iowa State was left with a 3rd and 1. The Cyclones elected to try to pass the ball on third down, but Lanning's throw fell incomplete. On 4th down, Warren was stuffed by the OSU defense. The 3rd down play call was widely criticized by fans and media alike, as armchair coaches nationwide believed ISU should have ran the ball to get the 1st down.

The Cyclone defense ended up getting the ball back after stuffing OSU on three consecutive plays, but Lanning threw an interception on the first play of the "last chance" drive for Iowa State, and Oklahoma State escaped Jack Trice Stadium with a win.

35-31 Cowboys. 2011 repeat, not to be.

Lanning passed for 162 yards on an 11/22 completion rate, and also chipped in 130 yards on the ground. The big redshirt sophomore had one touchdown pass, two rushing TDs and one interception in the loss. Warren eclipsed the 1000 yard rushing mark on the season in a 15 rush, 73 yard performance.

Iowa State's next game will be on the road in Manhattan, Kansas against K-State. The game will kick at 11 a.m. next Saturday and be televised on Fox Sports 1.

View the full box score of today's game HERE.