– Cyclone Football (@CycloneFB) December 30, 2017
Iowa State wide receiver Allen Lazard tied a Liberty Bowl record with 10 catches for 142 yards Saturday as the Cyclones capped off a turnaround season with a 21-20 road win over No. 20 Memphis at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Lazard’s most important reception was one that put Iowa State (8-5) ahead for good. He grabbed a 5-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Kempt with 4:28 left in the third quarter to make it 21-17. The ball was tipped just before it reached Lazard, who came back in from out of bounds to make the tumbling catch.
The Tigers (10-3) pulled within a point on a 30-yard field goal by Riley Patterson with 2:16 left in the period, then had a chance to win it when Iowa State running back David Montgomery fumbled into the end zone on 3rd-and-goal at the 1 with 4:06 remaining in the game.
Jonathan Cook recovered the fumble, the first time this year the Cyclones lost a fumble. But Iowa State’s defense stopped Memphis at its 40, blitzing quarterback Riley Ferguson on 4th-and-10 and forcing an incomplete pass with 1:52 left.
The Cyclones initiated scoring on the game’s first possession. Kempt, who completed 24 of 38 passes for 314 yards, found Hakeem Butler running through the middle of a blown coverage. Butler caught a pass at the 20 and beat defenders to the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown 1:51 into the game.
Ferguson tied it at 7-7 with six minutes left in the first quarter, connecting with Anthony Miller for a 10-yard scoring strike. But Iowa State regained the lead when senior Joel Lanning, who saw action at linebacker and quarterback, ran two yards for a touchdown with 4:28 remaining in the first half.
Patterson’s 34-yard field goal on the half’s final play cut the Cyclones’ advantage to 14-10. The Tigers jumped in front less than two minutes into the second half when Phil Mayhue took Ferguson’s short pass and slalomed 36 yards through the defense for a 17-14 edge.
But Ferguson, who completed 21 of 33 passes for 286 yards, and the nation’s second-highest scoring offense couldn’t find the end zone again. Iowa State notched six sacks and held Memphis to 53 yards rushing.
NOTES: Memphis RB Darrell Henderson (hamstring), who led the team with 1,154 yards rushing and averaged 8.9 yards per carry, didn’t play. … Iowa State played without senior defensive backs Evrett Edwards (ineligible) and Kamari Cotton-Moya (violation of team rules). Edwards started nine games this year and notched 51 tackles, while Cotton-Moya registered 60 tackles and three interceptions in 12 games. … Tigers WR Anthony Miller’s third quarter reception enabled him to break his single-season school record for most catches in a year with 96.