7:00 PM ET, November 12, 2005
Jack Trice Stadium, AMES, IA
AMES, Iowa (AP) -- The only thing stronger than the wind howling through Jack Trice Stadium was Iowa State's defense in the second half.
Steve Paris, Brent Curvey and Tim Dobbins each made huge defensive plays to help Iowa State stay in the running for a share of the Big 12 North championship with a 30-16 victory over No. 22 Colorado on Saturday night.
Paris returned a fumble 66 yards for a touchdown after Dobbins knocked the ball loose and Curvey, a 305-pound defensive tackle, rumbled 66 yards for a TD with an interception to secure the Cyclones' fourth straight victory and prevent Colorado from clinching the division title.
"If we didn't have [Paris] and Curvey make those plays, it's overtime and we're still playing," ISU quarterback Bret Meyer said.
Iowa State (7-3, 4-3 Big 12), which shared the division crown with Colorado last year, can tie for this year's title if it beats Kansas on Nov. 26 and Colorado (7-3, 5-2) loses to Nebraska the day before. Colorado clinches the championship if it wins, regardless of what anyone else does.
Missouri (6-4, 4-3) would have a chance to gain a title share if it wins at Kansas State next Saturday. A three-way tie sends Missouri to the Big 12 championship game in Houston on Dec. 3. An Iowa State-Colorado tie sends Iowa State.
"We know some things have to go our way," Curvey said. "We know we just have to keep playing and keep playing."
Colorado has to do the same.
"So many things were out there for us," Colorado coach Gary Barnett said. "The ring was out there. We just missed it."
The Buffaloes certainly had their chances.
With Iowa State leading 23-16, Colorado appeared on its way to the tying touchdown, moving from its own 11 to the Iowa State 27 in the final minutes. Seconds later, the Cyclones were in control.
On first down, Iowa State's Jason Berryman pressured Joel Klatt on a screen pass and Klatt threw right to Curvey, who returned two fumbles for touchdowns last year.
Curvey had a clear path to the end zone and got a block from Paris to free him for the final 20 yards, scoring with 1:31 left.
"I kind of read it," Curvey said. "They kind of released me, so I knew something was up. I just dropped back and he threw it right to me."
Berryman's sack of Klatt on fourth down with 58 seconds left ended Colorado's final hope on a night that began with tornado sirens sounding an hour before kickoff.
The field, stands and press box were cleared, but no damaging storms moved through the area, though the start of the game was delayed 30 minutes.
"It was Cyclone weather," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "We told our players not to flinch. Handle the distraction."
Once it was under way, Iowa State took advantage of a wind that gusted up to 45 mph to build a 13-0 lead, then pulled away again after Colorado tied it early in the third quarter to give McCarney his third victory in 37 games against ranked opponents.
"We did a great job with the wind," McCarney said. "We knew it wouldn't be enough to win the football game because Colorado is so talented and so explosive. But it was so important to get off to a good start in this game."
Iowa State was clinging to a 16-13 lead when Colorado's Lorenzo Sims recovered a Cyclones' fumble at the ISU 34 with 44 seconds left in the third quarter. On the next play, Dobbins stripped the ball from Lawrence Vickers, Paris picked it up at the 34 and ran unimpeded to the end zone, putting the Cyclones up 23-13.
"Going into a game like this against a defense as good as that it is ... you don't just turn the ball over, both turnovers result in scores," Barnett said. "That's the bottom line. The difference in this game would be who turned the ball over. That team would lose and that's just what happened."
Mason Crosby's third field goal, a 57-yarder with the wind at his back, drew Colorado to 23-16 with 11:25 remaining. Then it was left to Iowa State's defense and that unit did its job.
The Cyclones first stopped Colorado on downs near midfield, then got the huge pick by Curvey on the Buffaloes' next possession.
"We knew it was on our shoulders," Curvey said. "We knew what we had to do. We had to get a stop and we did."
Iowa State's Bret Culbertson kicked field goals of 23, 30 and a career-best 45 yards, the last one giving the Cyclones their 16-13 lead. Meyer set up each of those kicks with completions to Todd Blythe and finished 20-of-38 for 251 yards, including a 27-yarder to Ben Barkema for a touchdown.
Klatt had Colorado moving most of the night, but the Buffaloes got into the end zone only once, on Hugh Charles' 1-yard run early in the second quarter. Klatt went 25-for-42 for 284 yards with two interceptions.
The first interception also was costly -- a pick by Dobbins at his own 4 to protect the Cyclones' three-point lead in the third quarter.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... ISU's Brent Curvey scooped up a fumble and ran 66 yards for a score in the fourth quarter.
Gameball goes to... the Cyclones defense. ISU's D scored on a interception return and a fumble return.
Stat of the game... 45: The wind was howling up to 45 mph at Jack Trice Stadium.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-14||2-14|
|4th Down Conversions||0-2||0-1|
|FG||8:01||BRET CULBERTSON 23 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 29 yards.
|TD||5:33||BEN BARKEMA 27 YD PASS FROM BRET MEYER (BRET CULBERTSON KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 42 yards.
|FG||14:48||BRET CULBERTSON 30 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 54 yards.
|TD||12:56||HUGH CHARLES 1 YD RUN (MASON CROSBY KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 70 yards.
|FG||8:06||MASON CROSBY 31 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 51 yards.
|FG||10:38||MASON CROSBY 42 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 19 yards.
|FG||9:28||BRET CULBERTSON 45 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 35 yards.
|TD||0:30||STEVE PARIS 66 YD DEFENSIVE FUMBLE RETURN (BRET CULBERTSON KICK)||13||23|
|FG||11:25||MASON CROSBY 57 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 40 yards.
|TD||1:31||BRENT CURVEY 66 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (BRET CULBERTSON KICK)||16||30|