It's over. No more questions about Sam Richardson's status as the starter for Iowa State, no more questions about Courtney Manningham's job security, no more speculation that the Cyclones might not win a game until November.
Iowa State silenced its critics Thursday night with a 38-21 win at Tulsa, its first win since before Thanksgiving of last season. Richardson, nearly benched two weeks ago against Iowa with a sprained right ankle, was a cool 26-for-41 with 255 yards and two touchdowns as the Cyclones reeled off 24 unanswered points.
Aaron Wimberly made his case as the go-to running back, becoming the first Cyclone to rush for 100 yards in a game since last season's opening game. Wimberly had 19 carries for 137 yards — an average of 7.2 ypc — and had a 31-yard reception.
The rest of Iowa State's offense kept humming, with a rejuvenated offensive line — Tom Farniok played a couple series in his return — paving the way for 179 yards rushing and giving Richardson time to complete passes to 10 different receivers.
Iowa State converted on eight of 18 third down attempts, far better than its season average of 38 percent.
On the other side of the ball, the Cyclones did what they could not in the Liberty Bowl against the same opponent: stop the run. Tulsa had 89 yards on the ground and running back Trey Watts was held in check, limited to 2.7 yards a carry. Senior quarterback Cody Green had a miserable outing, an errant interception capping things off. Twice he fumbled on the read-option; he also had the ball slip out of his hands on a passing attempt, ruled a fumble.
Green was benched in the third quarter and replaced by Dane Evans, who didn't fare much better, with eight completions on 18 attempts and an average pickup of 2.8 yards per attempt.