By Michael O'Deay (@MODeay70)
A 62 yard FG and a ton of broken hearts. This loss stings. Before the game ISU had a dream to play in the Big 12 Championship game and possibly a New Years 6 bowl. Those dreams were shattered by a 62 field goal off the foot of Texas Tech Kicker Jonathan Garibay.
Texas Tech raced to a 28-7 lead in the second quarter. With scoring drives of 75 yards, 75 yards, 70 yards, and 71 yards. Brock Purdy threw his first interception in over a month and Texas Tech was rolling.
ISU answered with a 7 play 75 yard drive that was capped off with a 17 yard TD run by Breece Hall. His 2nd of the day. With 1:11 and 1 timeout surely Texas Tech would go to the locker room happy with a 14 point cushion. Right? Nope. Garibay hit his first FG of the day, a 45 yarder with no time to play in the first half making it 31-14.
The 2nd half started out with Brock Purdy throwing his 2nd INT of the day. He had Jaylin Noel in single coverage, however, Texas Tech corner Dadrion Taylor-Demerson had the beat on the pass that was thrown inside the numbers and picked it off. Texas Tech would go on what seemed to be a soul crushing drive. They drove 69 yards to the ISU 11 and had a chance to go up 34-14. Instead they went for the first down. QB Donovan Smith was short on his keeper. ISU regained a little life. However they were held to 3 and out and punted it.
The punt was returned 39 yards to the ISU 30. Once again, Texas Tech was set up for the haymaker. After a sack by Blake Peterson, an incompletion by Smith, and a completion of 18 yards on 4 and 21 once again Tech decided to go for the jugular instead of kicking a FG to take a 20 point lead. Smith kept it again and was dropped for a 4 yard loss. ISU football!
ISU would score on their final four possessions. Brock Purdy atoned for his two picks with 3 TD passes, two to Kolar and one to Hall. Hall's 17 yard TD reception to cut the lead to 38-35 was a highlight real TD where he caught the ball on the left hash, instantly spun to the middle of the field and angled toward the goal line for the score.
ISU then held Tech to a 3 and out. It set up a final drive for the ISU offense to take the lead and turn back the Red Raiders. Brock led the offense on a 15 play 68 yard drive that led to the tying FG. ISU was faced with a 4th and 4 from the Tech 12 yard line. Instead of playing aggressive and trying for the winning TD, ISU opted for the FG. In my opinion it was the right call. After a 2 yard run to start the possession Purdy threw an incomplete pass and scrambled for a 4 yard gain. On the two passing plays Tech had Kolar and Hutch locked up. If you get to OT there's a chance to win.
Then ISU had their hearts ripped out of their chest and stomped on.
I want to take a moment to address some complaints I read online after the game. I read this is a wasted season. The team underperformed. Bench Brock Purdy. Fire Matt Campbell.
Stop it! If you remember the 90s, ISU went 23-80-3 for the decade! Along with several others, I remained a Cyclone. Coach Mac took over in 1995 and started the winning ways we enjoy so much right now. Since 2000 Iowa State has been to 12 bowl games, (13 after this season). Prior to 2000 ISU had been to 4 bowl games in over 100 years. That's it. Brock Purdy is the best QB ISU has ever seen. Matt Campbell and this senior class has laid the foundation where a bowl game is an EXPECTATION and not a pipe dream. The #7 ranking in the pre season poll was awesome. The 4 sellouts are amazing. The progress the athletic department has made is remarkable. Jack Trice Stadium is almost unrecognizable from just a decade ago. If I could personally thank everyone involved in the process, I would. I would shake their hand and tell them thank you for playing your ass off for the last four years. Thank you for giving new hope to a fan base that is already one of the most passionate fan bases in all of sports. Go out and win another bowl game. Keep your heads held high because we can't be happier than we are now for what you've done.
The expectations for ISU Football are rising. In the future there will be seasons with hopes and expectations like this season.
Trust the process.