The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

October 4, 2013

Big plays can't save Cyclones

AMES — Not even Sam Richardson’s career night and the longest pass play in school history could keep Iowa State from another loss in a Big 12 opener.

The Cyclones were bedeviled by penalties throughout the game and finally fell in the final minute, losing to Texas 31-30 on Thursday night when quarterback Case McCoy scored on a 1-yard plunge with 51 seconds left.

It was Iowa State’s 11th straight loss in a Big 12 opener — and this one might have been the most heartbreaking of all.

“It hurts pretty bad,” Richardson said. “This is the one where you stay up all night and think about the two or three plays that you messed up that can change the game.

“It’ll drive you nuts, but you have to put it to bed and move on to the next game because it’s going to be just as tough.”

Helped by two pass-interference penalties and a 15-yard walkoff for a horse-collar tackle, Texas drove 75 yards in just under 3 minutes for the winning touchdown, which came after two near fumbles by Jonathan Gray at the 1.

On the first, Gray appeared to be fighting for the end zone when Iowa State linebacker Jeremiah George wrenched the ball from his grasp. But the officials ruled Gray was stopped, and a review upheld the call.

“To make a play on the 1-yard line with our backs against the wall ... and have it taken away from them, that’s hard to express,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said, his voice rising with each sentence. “You don’t just put an arm around a guy and tell him it’s OK when that happens to him.”

Gray fumbled on the next play but fell on the ball, giving Texas another chance. McCoy squeezed in on the next play.

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