Kendyll Pope and Jerel Hudson stopped Iowa State's Seneca Wallace at the goal line on the final play Saturday night, giving No. 3 Florida State a wild 38-31 victory and nudging Bowden past Bear Bryant on the career victory list with 324.
"I feel like we lost this game,'' said Bowden, who trails only Penn State's Joe Paterno (327) on the Division I-A victory list. "That's how I feel right now.''
Wallace, the senior quarterback who led Iowa State back from a 24-0 hole, scrambled 20 yards to the 1 with four seconds left. With the partisan Iowa State crowd of more than 55,000 roaring, he took the ball and rolled right.
But Pope and Hudson made the play.
"We put the ball with the best player on our team,'' Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said.
If the Cyclones had won, many would have proclaimed it the biggest victory in the school's 110-year football history. Iowa State has never beaten a team ranked as high as No. 3 and has lost 30 in a row to ranked teams.
"We wanted to see if he could make something happen. If we had to do it again, we'd still put the ball in his hands,'' McCarney said.
Hudson said he recognized the play at once.
"As soon as I saw the fullback go in motion, I knew it was coming. They ran it before and I guess they thought they could run it again on us,'' he said. "I just tried to stay behind the ball. I got him inside-out. Kendyll got him outside-in and we got him stopped.''
Chris Rix threw two TD passes and engineered two other first-half scoring drives as the Seminoles took charge early in the Eddie Robinson Classic.
Bryant who was just beginning to build Alabama into a national power 37 years ago when Bowden began his career at Howard, 45 miles away in Birmingham.
"He was my idol,'' Bowden said. "He still is. I can't believe that he's gone.''
The Seminoles, who return 17 starters from an 8-4 campaign that marked Bowden's worst in 15 years, scored on both teams' initial possession and appeared en route to a rout until Wallace began stunning them with big plays.
"I thought man, this just might be our year,'' Bowden said. "Then the second half it was just the opposite. We couldn't stop them. We went out there and we could not do what we wanted to do to save our lives.''
Adam Benike's 33-yard field goal -- after Wallace lost 15 yards on third-and-goal from the 1 -- drew the Cyclones within 31-17 with 1:23 left in the third.
Then Atif Austin returned an interception 39 yards to the Florida State 25 and brought the pro-Iowa State crowd of 55,132 roaring to its feet.
Four plays later, Wallace made it 31-24 with 13:01 left when he scored on a 1-yard run as Iowa State coaches tried frantically to call a timeout.
Back came the Seminoles, with Rix hitting Anquan Boldin on a 31-yard TD pass for a 38-24 lead with 8:15 left. But Wallace needed only nine plays to drive his team 91 yards, hitting Jamaul Montgomery on a 39-yard TD pass that made it 38-31 with 5:26 left.
Wallace finished 22-of-33 for 313 yards and two touchdowns. Rix was 17-of-25 for 210.
At first, it looked easy for the Seminoles. On their first possession, Nick Maddux capped an 80-yard march with a 5-yard run.
Then three minutes later, pressured by Donnie Carter and Michael Boulware, Wallace hurried a screen pass right into the hands of defensive end Alonzo Jackson. The 250-pounder juggled the ball a moment, then rambled 48 yards into the end zone.
Another Cyclones turnover led to Rix's 2-yard TD pass to Boldin on the first play of the second period. Then Iowa State got a 54-yard kickoff return by Lance Young and two plays later, Hiawatha Rutland broke free over the middle and fled 36 yards into the end zone, making it 24-7.
Trailing 31-7 in the final minute of the half, Wallace engineered a six-play, 70-yard drive, capped by a 29-yard scoring pass to tight end Kyle Knock. It was the first career TD by the senior tight end whose father, Don, is director of football operations for the Cyclones.
On the Cyclones' second possession, Florida State's B.J. Ward blocked a 50-yard field-goal attempt. The Seminoles, with Robert Morgan getting 18 yards on a pass from Rix, drove 63 yards on eight plays to set up Xavier Beitia's 35-yard field goal for a 17-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ward knocked the ball loose from Bob Montgomery and Kameron Wimbley snatched it out of the air and ran 12 yards to the 10, setting up Boldin's 2-yard TD catch.
The Seminoles went up 31-7 with 1:05 left in the half when Jones broke three tackles on a 9-yard TD run right through the middle.
Florida St. 17 14 0 7_38 Iowa St. 0 14 3 14_31
FSt--Maddox 5 run (Beitia kick), 9:11.
FSt--Jackson 48 interception return (Beitia kick), 6:29.
FSt--FG Beitia 35, 1:21.
FSt--Boldin 2 pass from Rix (Beitia kick), 14:54.
ISt--Rutland 36 run (Benike), 14:03.
FSt--Jones 9 run (Beitia kick), 1:05.
ISt--Knock 29 pass from Wallace (Benike kick), :09.
ISt--FG Benike 33, 1:23.
ISt--Wallace 1 run (Benike kick), 13:01.
FSt--Boldin 31 pass from Rix (Beitia kick), 8:15.
ISt--Montgomery 39 pass from Wallace (Benike kick), 5:26. A--55,132.
First downs 22 23
Rushes-yards 43-239 38-130
Passing 210 313
Comp-Att-Int 17-25-1 22-33-1
Return Yards 122 182
Punts-Avg. 4-41 3-47
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 8-81 5-34
Time of Possession 30:46 29:14
RUSHING--Florida St., Jones 22-113, Maddox 6-57, Rix 9-33, Reid 5-30, Washington 1-6. Iowa St., Rutland 17-93, Wagner 8-19, Wallace 10-15, Danielsen 3-3.
PASSING--Florida St., Rix 17-25-1-210. Iowa St., Wallace 22-33-1-313.
RECEIVING--Florida St., Boldin, 7-89, Morgan 4-57, Jones 3-30, Samm 2-22, Gardner 1-12. Iowa St., Danielsen 6-96, Montgomery 5-78, Whitver 4-37, Rutland 4-22, Klaffke 1-31, Knock 1-29, Young 1-20.
-- ASSCOCIATED PRESS