Disclaimer: Oklahoma State lost 4 lives, including Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna the night before this game, in a tragic plane crash that is obviously way more than a football game, may they rest in peace.
If I were an Oklahoma State fan, I would probably hate us Iowa Staters. We have done nothing but destroyed their hopes and dreams, whether it is Naz “The Cowboy Killer” Mitrou-Long always hitting a 3 to push the Cyclones over the Pokes, throw in a freshman quarterback that picks apart a defense, or (what we will focus on today) the Paul Rhoads Crew creating the College Football Playoff all in a night’s work over a talented Cowboy squad.
The Cyclones have not fared well against the Cowboys in recent years, with the Pokes winning 6 of the last 7 match-ups, while Oklahoma State holds a 31-19-2 all-time series lead. Although Iowa State has broken Okie State fan’s hearts, their fans are awesome and appreciate good competition.
Now, to the greatest night a 4th grader (like myself at the time) could have dreamed of.
The night is November the 18th, 2011, a special Friday night primetime game, the Cyclones welcome the Oklahoma State Cowboys that boasted a perfect 10-0 record. Iowa State, however, sits at just 5-4 on the season, and are riding a 2 game win streak notching wins over Texas Tech and Kansas. There was a shuffle in the backfield throughout the season, Steele Jantz starting the season before being replaced by red-shirt freshman Jared Barnett midway through a week 8 match-up with Texas A&M.
It was then when Iowa State really found their groove and looked to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2009.
Oklahoma State had really walked their way to a 10-0 record with their explosive offense led by Brandon “I am 12” Weedon. The 28 year old senior QB had pitched for the Yankees already in his lifetime, and figured he would give football a shot. He fit in perfectly down at OSU and was a front-runner for the Heisman to this point.
Enter your beloved, upset-seeking Cyclones.
The game got off to a slow start, with teams trading back and forth punts and turnovers, before Jared Barnett was intercepted on a screen pass that would be returned for a touchdown, putting the Cowboys up 7-0. Quinn Sharp would add a field goal in the second quarter to add to the lead, 10-0. The Cyclones finally were able to finish a drive, and Jared Barnett threw up a 50/50 ball that Darius Reynolds would come down with, to bring the ‘Clones within 3. Brandon Weeden then led a drive that was capped off by a Justin Blackmon 27 yard catch-and-run touchdown to put the Pokes up 17-7 at the half.
Both teams opened the half on scoring drives, with Oklahoma State scoring on a 30 yard connection from Weedon to Tracy Moore, and James White going 32 yards untouched to reach the endzone and bring the hometown ‘Clones within 10 once again
Afterward, Iowa State lined up in a normal kickoff formation, Grant Mahoney trotted up to the ball, put his foot in the ground, and kicked an absolute perfect onside kick that would be recovered by ISU defensive back Jeremy Reeves.
Say what you want about Paul Rhoads, but the guy had a gift for making playcalls like these.
The onside recovery didn’t result in any immediate points, but back-to-back fumbles by both teams eventually led to Zack Guyer hitting a field goal to put the good guys up 7. The Cyclone defense was able to make stops and force turnovers long enough for the offense to put something together, when Barnett found Albert Gary on a spectacular play to tie the game 24-24.
Iowa State would get one more shot on offense but Barnett threw an untimely INT to put Oklahoma State in field goal range. A little background on Oklahoma State’s kicker Quinn Sharp: inside of 40 yards, he sat at 15 makes on 16 attempts. Yes, Joe Tessitore said this right before Sharp attempted this 37 yard attempt. Wide right. The Whirly Birds have hope as they head into overtime.
The first overtime saw both team trade scores, Iowa State on the first play of overtime via 25 yard pass from JB to James White on a perfectly executed wheel route, and Oklahoma State scoring just 4 plays into their possession.
On the first play of the second overtime, the defense did something they had done all night, and made a big time play in a big time moment. Jake Knott was able to get a hand on a ball leaving it up in the air for no other than Ter’Ran Benton to get the Cyclones the football and a chance to win. Jeff Woody would need to help, needing just 3 attempts to tumble his way into the endzone lifting the ‘Clones to a double-overtime victory, 37-31.
Jeff Woody made some interesting points after the game:
It really was a perfect storm.
The performance that changed this game was the coaching staff. They did a superb job of not only preparing this team, but executing the game plan. You could really say everyone had a very important role - which was the case - but the coaching staff drew everything up to perfection in order to get the first win over a top 2 team in Iowa State history. Any game where you storm the field following a win is always going to be a night to remember for anyone in attendance, including myself. This was a perfect night for a perfect upset, one which eventually helped form the College Football Playoff we all know and love today.