AMES, Iowa — Iowa State can’t say much about the month of September.
But it can give thanks the month is followed by October.
The Cyclones reasserted themselves in the Big 12 championship race in dramatic fashion Saturday by downing undefeated and ninth-ranked Oklahoma State, 24-21, at Jack Trice Stadium.
Iowa State (5-2) now finds itself in a three-way tie for second place in the Big 12 as it sports identical 3-1 league records with the Cowboys and Baylor Bears.
The Cyclones are in the thick of the race despite yet another lackluster start to the season because of another October spent on fire. Iowa State’s two losses in September (to Iowa and Baylor) were critical hits that knocked the preseason top-10 team out of the rankings, but, as Iowa State now improves to 16-2 in October since the 2017 season, the Big 12 looks up for grabs.
The victory means Iowa State can control its own fate to return to the Big 12 championship game, where it fell to Oklahoma last December.
Iowa State’s lease on life was extended after the Cyclones fell behind 21-17 with 8 minutes, 36 to play, but responded with the biggest drive of the season. The Cyclones took over from their own 15-yard line, but six plays later, Breece Hall strode into the end zone to put the Cyclones on top.
Oklahoma State was forced to punt on its ensuing possession after sacks on second and third down, but Iowa State had to return the ball right to them after a three-and-out with just over 3 minutes to play.
The Cowboys, though, were unable to get past the Iowa State 40-yard line, where the Cyclones held Brennan Presley short of the line to gain on fourth down thanks to a thunderous hit by safety Isheem Young. A review of the spot of the ball stood.
Brock Purdy threw for 307 yards and two touchdowns for the Cyclones while Xavier Hutchinson had 12 grabs for 125 yards and two scores. Hall ran for 70 yards for Iowa State, which returns to action next weekend at West Virginia.