“We’ve been working very hard, and I think we’ve really improved,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “That’s a lot of practices and a lot of maintaining focus to do what’s right and improve, and that’s exactly what they did. ... I thought the defense played very well. When you can hold Tulsa to 86 yards rushing, that’s exceptional.”
The evenly played first half ended knotted at 14. Green led Tulsa on two touchdown drives, the second of which put Tulsa ahead 14-7 when Roberson, playing in his first game this year after recovering from a concussion, snatched a 9-yard touchdown pass away from defensive back P.J. Harris in the back of the end zone.
Iowa State came right back, moving 66 yards in 1:11 to tie it on a 10-yard strike from Richardson to Jarvis West 15 seconds before the half.
“That was a huge momentum shift,” Rhoads said. “We weren’t even going to go with the two-minute drill, but we had a nice play early in the drive and just went with it.”
Iowa State took a 7-0 lead on a 13-play, 89-yard drive capped by Woody’s 1-yard blast. Tulsa tied it on Trey Watts’ 1-yard run.
“When you have four turnovers against even a decent team, you’re really going to struggle,” Blankenshiip said. “We’ve got to stop putting the ball on the ground. Those are unforced errors.”
Iowa State rolled up 434 yards offense, including 179 rushing while limiting Tulsa to 374.