West Virginia surrenders 24-point lead, loses in triple overtime
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Iowa State, ranked 97th in the nation in scoring, came back from a 24-point deficit — and scored 17 points in the final 9:38 — to force overtime and then defeat West Virginia, 52-44, on the third possession of extra time.
Iowa State won the game on a 25-yard touchdown pass from Grant Rohach to Justin Coleman and 2-point conversion pass to E.J. Bibbs. WVU's final chance failed when a pass by quarterback Clint Trickett was tipped and caught short of the goal line on fourth down.
Iowa State was inspired when a fake punt on fourth-and-17 by Kirby Van Der Kamp in the fourth quarter gained 21 yards and a crucial first down. The Cyclones were trailing by 17 points at the time.
It was Van Der Kamp's sixth successful fake of the season and led to a 62-yard TD pass that cut the deficit to 38-28.
Iowa State won its second consecutive game to finish 3-9. The Mountaineers closed a disastrous 4-8 season.
A crowd of 33,735, the second smallest in Milan Puskar Stadium history, saw WVU give away the game after leading 31-7.
“We have talked about finishing all year long. It is something that will be addressed in the offseason,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. “We have had issues closing games this year. Why can't we close games? It comes down to execution and a burning desire to win.
“You need a collection of guys not wanting to let each other down and coaches not wanting to let the players down. Obviously we don't have that right now.”
It was the other way on the other side.
“We just stayed focused and kept on playing,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “You can't rush things in a situation like that. The fake punt probably provided a bit of an energy boost, but we never had a surprise onside or anything. We just kept playing, trusting that our defense could put up some stops and that our offense could do the job.”
Rohach did the job, throwing for 330 yards and four touchdowns while also running for a 54-yard score.
Mario Alford, who had been coming along all season as he got accustomed to West Virginia football after playing in junior college, caught eight passes for 215 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown; senior running back Charles Sims surpasses 1,000 rushing yards.
Running back Charles Sims gained 149 yards, including a 76-yard TD run, to become WVU's first 1,000-yard rusher since Noel Devine in 2009.
“That meant a lot,” Sims said. “It's something I can cherish, but I would have liked the win.”
Trickett, who had missed the previous game with a concussion, completed 21 of 37 passes for 356 yards and two TDs. However, he threw an interception with 2:46 remaining that set up Iowa State's tying touchdown.
Iowa State had trailed 17-0 and 31-7 before rallying in the fourth quarter to tie the score 38-38 when Rohach hit Justin Coleman with a 19-yard TD pass with a minute remaining. Iowa State scored 17 points in the final 9:38.
The teams traded field goals in the first and second overtime possessions. It was West Virginia's third overtime game of the season.
Iowa State's Cole Netten hit a 40-yard attempt, and WVU's Josh Lambert was good from 41 yards. Both kickers made 26-yard attempts in the second OT.
Bob Hertzel is a freelance writer.