AMES, Iowa (AP) — This used to be the time when Iowa State would start to fade — if it hadn’t already.
Coach Matt Campbell and the Cyclones finished their second straight October unbeaten, and they’re peaking heading into the sport’s most crucial month.
Texas Tech’s Alan Bowman was forced into a safety with 4:39 left, Hakeem Butler added a 48-yard TD catch from Brock Purdy just more than two minutes later and Iowa State rallied to beat the Red Raiders 40-31 on Saturday.
Bowman’s two-point blunder was the break the Cyclones (4-3, 3-2 Big 12) needed to clinch their third straight win behind Purdy, their star freshman, after a 1-3 start.
“You work 10 months to get to November to be in it and to play meaningful games,” Campbell said. “We’ve worked really hard to shed that ‘You can’t do that here.’”
With the game tied at 31, Bowman fumbled the snap, retrieved the ball and flung it away with his foot in the end zone as a hard-charging JaQuan Bailey approached. Bowman failed to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage, though, putting Iowa State ahead 33-31.
“That’s not good enough. It’s on me,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “We’ve got to get better quick.”
Butler, who had four catches for 148 yards, then corralled a beautiful pass from an inconsistent Purdy to put a weird and wild game out of reach.
Purdy threw for 250 yards and a pair of touchdowns and David Montgomery added 125 yards rushing on 33 carries.
At times, the Cyclones looked more like the team that started 1-3 than the one on a winning streak. But Iowa State’s defense made a number of big plays, none bigger than its third safety in as many weeks. The Cyclones could be favored in four of their final five games — and the second spot in the Big 12 title game remains an unlikely but somehow attainable goal.
Bowman had 323 yards passing for Texas Tech (5-3, 3-2), but he also had three picks. Iowa State linebacker Marcel Spears had two of those interceptions, and he brought one back for a touchdown.