We’ve been counting down the 10 best games of the year in the Big 12, and here's No. 5. If you missed this one, you missed out.
No. 5: Nov. 30 -- Iowa State 52, West Virginia 44 (3 OT)
In a season-finale battle of two teams with nothing to lose, Iowa State and its young quarterback rallied from more than three scores down to nab their third victory.
What happened: With nearly nine minutes left in the second quarter, West Virginia led 31-7 and had to love its chances in Morgantown, W.Va., against an ISU squad that was 1-7 in Big 12 play. The lead was a still-comfortable 31-14 at halftime.
And then, slowly but surely, this game went in a very different direction. The lead was trimmed to 10 points early in the fourth quarter, after quarterback Grant Rohach led a 12-play, 99-yard drive. The Mountaineers answered with a 76-yard Mario Alford touchdown on their first play from scrimmage. 38-21. Game over, right?
No way. Iowa State responded by scoring on its final three possessions of the fourth quarter. West Virginia committed turnovers on three consecutive drives. Rohach’s 19-yard touchdown pass to Justin Coleman with a minute left made it 38-38, and Jacques Washington picked off WVU quarterback Clint Trickett’s last-ditch rally. Time for overtime.
After each team traded two field goals, Rohach stepped up again with a 25-yard touchdown to Coleman on an option pass on the first play of triple overtime and hit E.J. Bibbs for the two-point conversion. But it wasn’t over.
Charles Sims, the Mountaineers’ All-Big 12 back, countered with a 22-yard run to put WVU at the goal line. He was stopped on first down. Trickett threw incomplete. Another Sims run was stuffed on third down. And then, in the play that ended both teams’ seasons, Trickett’s pass to Daikiel Shorts at the goal line was tipped. Shorts hauled it in but went down 2 yards short of the goal line.
And with that, Iowa State’s comeback was complete. It was difficult season for the Cyclones, but they had plenty to celebrate on this day.
Player of the game: Rohach, who shined in his fourth career start. The redshirt freshman threw for 331 yards and four touchdowns, rushed for a fifth score and got the job done in overtime.
Stat of the game: West Virginia’s Alford had one of the great underrated performances of conference play in the loss, catching eight passes for 215 yards and a touchdown. That was the third-highest receiving total of the season in the Big 12, behind Kansas State receiver Tyler Lockett's performances against Oklahoma and Texas.
Quotable: “Everybody wants to finish with a ‘W.’ It was senior day. Guys that have done a lot for this school and this program -- a lot for this school and this program -- they were going to play.” -- Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads
The rest of the list: