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Top 10 Campbell Era Wins: #9 2017 Liberty Bowl vs Memphis

Lanning & Lazard’s swan song lead the Clones to Matt Campbell’s first bowl win.

Football season is rapidly approaching. The WRNL staff is getting excited. As we head towards the beginning of the 7th season with Matt Campbell as the head coach at Iowa State, we wanted to look back and rank our top 10 wins from the first 6 seasons. To do this, the staff was polled to give their personal 1-10 rankings. Win #1 was worth 10 points, #2 worth 9 points, and on down. The games that earned the most “points” are what we will look back on throughout this series. Next up is the 2017 Liberty Bowl against Memphis.


Iowa State had a breakout in year 2 with Matt Campbell as the head coach, with multiple top 5 wins and an all time great story at QB with former walk on Kyle Kempt. The Cyclones were in the hunt for the Big 12 championship into November, unheard of for this program. An all time robbery against Kansas State lead us to a 7-5 final record and the first bowl game in 5 years. The opponent? The #25 Memphis Tigers, playing on their home field. Iowa State fans packed Beale Street and filled the stadium for some postseason excitement.



This game was called by the now retired Mike Patrick and current US Senator Tommy Tuberville (lol) - no word yet on if he’s figured out who Iowa State is. The Cyclones got off to a quick start, with Kyle Kempt hitting Hakeem Butler for a bomb to start the scoring. Memphis evened the game at 7, and Allen Lazard, in his final game at Iowa State took over. He got Iowa State close, and QB turned LB Joel Lanning scored a rushing TD to put the Cyclones up 14-7 late in the first half.

Memphis was game, however, and the Tigers took a 17-14 lead. Kempt gave Iowa State the lead back, tossing a deflected TD to Lazard, who managed to stay in bounds and put the Clones up 21-17. The game grew more intense late, with David Montgomery ruled to have fumbled the ball on the one yard line (Seriously, watch the play again. How it was ruled a fumble I’ll never know.) Amazingly, it was Iowa State’s first lost fumble of the entire season. The defense stepped up though, and stopped Memphis with 2 minutes left. A few kneel downs later and Iowa State had it’s first bowl win since 2009. Lanning and Lazard left the program in a much better place, as this one functioned as their final send off.


  1. WR Allen Lazard (10 receptions, 142 yards, 1 TD)
  2. QB Kyle Kempt (24/38, 314 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs)
  3. QB/LB Joel Lanning (4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 rushing TD)


  1. Kyle Kempt hits Hakeem Butler over the middle for a 52 yard touchdown for the opening score
  2. 2 way star Joel Lanning runs for a touchdown
  3. Allen Lazard scores the winning touchdown off a deflection
  4. David Montgomery’s “fumble” that wasn’t a fumble
  5. Lanning ices the game on a QB draw
  6. Iowa State breaks the stage during the trophy ceremony


So I was at this football game on a chillier-than-expected day in Memphis after absolutely going scorched-earth on the Beale Street bars the night before, which included getting to have a Diver bucket at Silky O’Sullivans and drink beers with Walters and Heft. The stadium was completely full, which is very cool to see at a bowl game. The Cyclone crowd was much louder and slightly larger, and went nuts after Hakeem’s long touchdown. While the first half was fun, the second half featured a lot of tense moments for everyone, especially after Memphis took the lead. I’ll never forget the review for that Lazard touchdown, which took forever, only to confirm it as a touchdown. The Montgomery fumble was pure robbery, but thankfully the defense held firm to secure the win. This was one of the must fun football experiences I’ve been lucky enough to witness. -Matt Nelson


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