AMES, Iowa (AP) — This used to be the time of the year when Iowa State would start to fade — if it hadn’t already.
Coach Matt Campbell and the Cyclones have instead finished their second straight October unbeaten, and they’re peaking heading into the sport’s most crucial month.
Texas Tech’s Alex Bowman was forced into a safety with 4:39 left, Hakeem Butler added a 48-yard TD catch from Brock Purdy just over 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 image 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, who was supposed to run a naked bootleg and find an open receiver, failed to get the ball back to the line of scrimmage, 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.
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.
“We’re grinding our way through it, and your back is against the wall when you start 1-3,” Campbell said. “Who are we? What are we about?”
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)