What was at stake?
Iowa State was 7-4, coming off of a road victory at Baylor. They were playing for 3rd in the Big 12 and a chance at an upper tier bowl. But most importantly, ISU was looking for their first win against the vampire since 2007.
Iowa State opened the game up with the ball, they marched into K-State territory pretty quick. After picking up multiple first downs, David Montgomery went down with an apparent leg injury. He was questionable to return to the game but as Cyclone fans, we expected the worst. Meanwhile, Sheldon Croney Jr. took over and did a solid job, until the drive was stalled by a holding call and the offense settled for a field goal.
Both defenses forced punts to round out the first quarter. At the end of one, Montgomery still hasn’t returned. At this point, no one expected him to return and that obviously hindered Iowa State’s chance to win. To start the second quarter, Kansas State was at the Cyclone 13 yard line. It took them a few plays to score before Skylar Thompson ran in for the touchdown. 7-3 Kansas State.
Both teams went on to trade punts for two possessions each. Kyle Kempt only had 83 yards passing going into the last possession of the half and the offense had not moved the ball since the first possession. Then something changed, the Cyclones advanced into Wildcat territory, a 32 yard pass to Allen Lazard brought Iowa State within the 5. But once again, the offense was stuffed. Another field goal made it 7-6 in K-State’s favor.
That half was one of the most boring halves of season, pretty forgettable. Same with the second half, right...? Kansas State opened the half with a 3-and-out and Iowa State capitalized on it. They marched 85 yards down the field and this time it was capped by a Marchie Murdock touchdown, however the two point conversion failed. Iowa State led again, 12-7.
Iowa State responded on the defensive end by forcing a turnover on downs with a little bit of time left in the third quarter. The Cyclones took over at their own 38, and went down the field on a time eating drive. The six minute drive was capped off by a three yard touchdown to Hakeem Butler. Butler handed the Wildcat defender the ball he caught for a touchdown, performing the most disrespectful thing to ever happen on a football field (sarcasm font) resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. So, the ref show begins.
Flag Pickup #1
K-State answered with a 68 yard drive of their own, ending with a touchdown pass to Winston Dimel. Earlier on this possession, an offensive pass interference was called that would have made extending the drive unlikely, but the flag was picked up. K-State now trailed 19-14 with six minutes remaining in the game. An Iowa State touchdown or time draining drive would wrap this game up.
Flag Pickup #2
That is what appeared to be happening, Iowa State was successfully driving and picking up first downs. On 2nd and 6 at the Cyclone 39, Kyle Kempt scrambled for three yards before sliding, while sliding he was hit. A flag was thrown for hit on a defenseless player, this was the right call, but the officials huddled up and picked up the flag. The third picked up flag of the game and second of this quarter. Bizzare, but you have to move on and play the cards in front of you right? Right. That’s exactly what Iowa State did, despite the penalty against Iowa State on the next play. The Cyclones picked up a first down on 3rd and 18.
Flag Pickup #3
Despite the circumstances stacked against them, it looked like Iowa State was going to pull this out. As the great Monty Burns said, “Smithers, there’s no way I can lose this bet. Unless of course my nine all stars fall victim to nine separate misfortunes and are unable to play tomorrow but that will never happen. Three misfortunes, that’s possible. Seven misfortunes, there’s an outside chance. But nine misfortunes, I’d like to see that.” On 3rd and 6 with a little over two minutes remaining, Kempt floated a pass to Allen Lazard that was dropped, but there was a pass interference called. The defender was smaller and wrapped around Lazard to prevent him from catching the ball, pretty blatant. This meant game over, once the ball was spotted, K-State would use a timeout and be left with only one. By math, the game was over. But the great officials of the Big 12 didn’t think so, they picked up another flag. No words. They didn’t think this was a defensive pass interference:
The color guy just justified that pass interference by saying the corner had to be physical with Lazard because he's virtually unguardable.— Wide Right & Natty Lite (@WideRtNattyLt) November 25, 2017
Editor’s Note: THIS WAS F***ING HORSESHIT.
After that flag was picked up, Iowa State punted and it was all downhill from there. Kansas State went down the field 87 yards in 10 plays and scored a touchdown on the final play.
Kansas State “won” the game, but Iowa State fans and players will forever believe they were robbed of a victory. They did enough throughout the game without their best player, and they did enough on the final possession to put the game away. The defense stood out all game, holding K-State to just 264 yards. Kyle Kempt bounced back from injury and played a solid game. The Cyclones didn’t play a perfect game, but they deserved this win.
This loss resulted in Iowa State finishing 7th in the Big 12 instead of 4th. They went to the Liberty Bowl instead of the potential of getting selected to the Camping World Bowl. And last but not least, we had to watch the Vampire somehow pull another win out of his butt and break our hearts again.
Many games have been botched by the refs and have not gone in favor of Iowa State but this one is a game we can all look back on and say Iowa State had the game won. And that is something we all know, but it’s also something I hope you can forget.