AMES, Iowa (AP) — For two teams used to seeing games come down to the final play, it was fitting that Iowa State and Texas left it all up to a kicker.
Connor Assalley drilled the field goal of his life, sending the Cyclones home a rare winner over the Longhorns.
Assalley kicked a 36-yarder as time expired and Iowa State knocked off 22nd-ranked Texas 23-21 on Saturday to snap a two-game losing streak.
Brock Purdy had 354 yards passing and two TDs, and he led the Cyclones (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) 63 yards in three minutes to set up Assalley’s winner.
Iowa State, a favorite over Texas for the first time, picked up just their third win over the Longhorns (6-4, 4-3) in 17 tries despite blowing a 13-point lead.
“They continue to fight when I think everyone has written us off at times,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “Our kids just keep playing.”
Iowa State’s Brayden Narveson missed an apparent 42-yard field goal with 2:12 to go. But Texas was called for being offside and the Cyclones were awarded a first down by inches.
The Cyclones — who have lost twice by a point in 2019 — elected to play for the field goal. Assalley rewarded Campbell’s faith in him with a no-doubter right down the middle.
Sam Ehlinger gave Texas a 21-20 lead with a brilliant 7-yard TD pass to Malcom Epps on fourth down with 5:37 to go. But the Cyclones stuffed the Longhorns on their next possession, giving Purdy one more chance.
“My mindset was we were going to have to go back on to the field,” Ehlinger said after the Longhorns’ final score. “We were celebrating that one too much. We did and couldn't get a first down.”
Ehlinger had 273 yards and three TDs for Texas, losers of three of its last five. The Longhorns sealed their last two victories, over Kansas and Kansas State, with game-winning kicks with no time left.
Texas ran the ball 26 times for 54 yards, with backs Roschon Johnson and Keaontay Ingram combining for 27 yards.
“Obviously a really, really poor performance by our offense the first two quarters,” Texas coach Tom Herman said. “Not being able to run the ball the way we thought we would be able to was the biggest difference.”
Texas: Give Texas credit for rallying from down 20-7 — and Ehlinger was his usual brilliant self. But a lack of production for nearly the entire first half came back to bite the Longhorns. “I was proud of the offense for continuing to fight and not giving up. But it was too little, too late,” Herman said.
Iowa State: The Cyclones also lost to Baylor 23-21 on a field goal to end the game and lost at Oklahoma by a point last week in Norman after going for two with less than 30 seconds left. Luck, which had gone largely against Iowa State in 2019, finally broke the Cyclones’ way.
After letting the Longhorns drive 75 yards in just 30 seconds to make it 10-7 before the break, Iowa State started the second half with the ball. Texas broke through the Cyclones’ line, only to watch Purdy scramble left and throw back toward the right to Jones, who was open by about 20 yards downfield. Jones cruised in for the score to make it 17-7 Iowa State just one play into the third quarter. ““I just threw my hand up. Luckily he saw that,” Jones said. Purdy “just threw the ball up and the rest is history.”
GIVE TEXAS SOME CREDIT
The Longhorns found themselves in a 2nd-and-35 midway through the fourth quarter — and Ehlinger got them 56 yards on their next two plays. Texas went 89 yards on that drive, which finished on Ehlinger’s go-ahead TD toss to Epps. Ehlinger was also crucial on the drive that got Texas to within 10-7 at halftime, going 4 for 5 and hitting Brennan Eagles for a score from 14 yards out. Eagles dragged his foot just inside the end zone on a play that was changed to a touchdown upon review.
It’s hard to see Texas maintaining its spot in the Top 25 on Sunday. Iowa State might even be the team that replaces the Longhorns.
HE SAID IT
“I think it’s so fun...you’re watching the evolution of someone special,” Campbell said of Purdy, who now owns the school’s single-season record with 22 touchdown passes. “The moment has never been too big for Brock.”
Texas plays at Baylor on Nov. 23.
Iowa State hosts Kansas next Saturday.