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Recap: Cyclones fall to Washington State

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Miscues, controversy highlight Alamo Bowl loss

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Iowa State vs Washington State Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Alamo Bowl will always be remembered.

Iowa State, though, had plenty to forget.

In a game that lived up to the hype, the Cyclones simply had too many miscues to overcome and fell to Washington State, 28-26.

Though it dictated play for much of the game, Iowa State threw two interceptions, lost one fumble, missed a field goal, and lost two key defensive players to targeting calls en route to the loss.

The Cyclones made a bid to tie the game with just over four minutes left, but their two-point conversion attempt failed, and the Cougars were able to run out the clock on their ensuing possession.

Washington State’s fourth touchdown, which ultimately sealed the game, came after David Montgomery lost a fumble at the ISU 30-yard line. Just a few plays later the Cougars took a 28-20 lead.

The game had arguably more fireworks in the first half than it did in the second, starting with the teams swapping turnovers on their opening possessions.

Washington State received the opening kickoff, but the Cyclones quickly forced a fumble on the ensuing possession that announced Iowa State’s arrival to the prime-time audience.

Before fans even had a chance to crack that next Busch Light, though, Brock Purdy’s first pass attempt was picked off. Though the Cyclones forced a quick three-and-out, Purdy was intercepted again on the very next possession. It was technically a pick-six, but got called back for taunting, and it took only three plays for ESPN announcer favorite WSU quarterback Gardner Minshew to find a wide open Renard Bell to put the Cougars up 7-0.

The teams traded punts until early in the second quarter, when the real fun started. Minshew scrambled on 3rd-and-11, and it seemed as if he was stopped short. Willie Harvey, though, was flagged for targeting - it kept the drive alive and ended Harvey’s Cyclone career with an ejection. Washington State finished the drive a few minutes later, going up 14-0.

Purdy and Co. responded quickly with a four play, 69 yard drive to cut the score in half, but the ensuing Cougar drive is when the fireworks started.

Eyioma Uwazurike made contact with Minshew’s helmet on a tackle near the ground, resulting in yet another targeting ejection. This caused coach Matt Campbell to light up the referees, for which he was rewarded with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty of his own. The Cougars seized those yards and scored, and it looked like they may take a two-touchdown lead into the break.

Iowa State was efficient on its final drive of the half, though, and Connor Assalley kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired to cut the lead to 21-10 at halftime.

The Cyclones made the most of their first possession in the second half, going 73 yards on seven plays to make it 21-17. Montgomery put an exclamation point on a drive that saw Re-al Mitchell enter the game as a decoy, and it sure felt as if Iowa State entered the third quarter determined to make a statement.

After forcing another Cougar punt, the Cyclones again converted points, this time Assalley split the uprights on a 23-yard attempt after a 14-play, 74 yard drive that chewed up almost seven minutes of game time. The drive featured the type of epic Hakeem Butler one-handed grab we have gotten used to, as well as a critical fourth-down conversion by Montgomery.

Washington State went three-and-out again, and Iowa State drove far enough down the field to attempt a 49-yard field goal, but Assalley’s attempt bounced off the upright, and the deficit remained at one.

The defense held serve and forced another three-and-out, but the Montgomery fumble ultimately sealed the Cyclones’ fate.

We’ll have plenty more analysis of the game in the coming days