The opening series' for both the Cyclones and Red Raiders could not have played out better for Iowa State. The defense held Texas Tech's offense three-and-out and gained possession on a short punt to midfield. ISU turned to Mike Wagner eight times on a 10-play scoring drive that was capped off by a 19-yard field goal by Adam Benike with 8:55 left in the quarter. The Cyclone tailback, starting for Hiawatha Rutland, gained 30 yards on his eight carries.
Facing a stiff wind out of the northwest, Texas Tech had to go to its running game more than usual. Taurean Henderson carried three consecutive times for 23 yards on his team's second drive of the quarter. But Kliff Kingsbury dropped back to pass on the following play, overthrew his receiver and ISU cornerback Ellis Hobbs intercepted the pass.
The Raiders got on the board late in the quarter on the strength of their passing game. Kingsbury completed 4-of-8 passes for 32 yards, but saw his team stall just outside the red zone. Robert Treece came on and barely hit a 37-yard field goal to tie the game with 1:42 to play.
Both teams struggled to sustain much on the offensive side throughout the second quarter. The Cyclones had the best chance with about five minutes to play when they took over at midfield. Wallace rushed for eight yards on first down, but the ISU ground attack mustered just one total yard in its next four plays.
A holding penalty on what would have been a big Mike Wagner rush killed the Cyclone drive. Tony Yelk's punt sailed into the end zone to set the Red Raiders up with just over three minutes before halftime.
Texas Tech's prolific offense, even with the wind at its back, could not do much better, picking up one first down but stalling out after six plays.
After ISU's offense went three-and-out to start the second half, Texas Tech set up and drove to midfield on the strength of a Kingsbury-to-Nehemiah Glover completion for 15 yards. However, on the following play Cyclone linebacker Jeremy Loyd stripped Anton Paige of the ball after a completion.
ISU took over at its own 49-yard line and got its biggest pass completion of the game on a 2nd-and-15 play, as Wallace hit Danielsen for 28 yards to the Tech 28. After a Wagner run netted nothing, the Cyclone quarterback hit Lance Young for the first time to gain 17 yards.
That set up one of the most incredible plays of Wallace's career with the Cyclones. Wallace dropped back and had nothing in the air so he tucked it and ran to the right sideline, then cut back right and got some key blocks on his way to an 11-yard touchdown. Wallace's run, at the 11:27 mark of the third quarter, provided the first touchdown in a game that was billed as a shootout between the Big 12's top two offenses.
The Red Raiders responded with a 15-play, 79-yard scoring drive to even the score at 10-10. Kingsbury keyed the touchdown drive by completing 8-of-9 passes for 60 yards and capped it off with a one-yard quarterback keeper. In a game that did not see any fireworks until second-half play began, ISU provided some more excitement when Danielsen dashed 79 yards up the left sideline for a touchdown thanks to some great blocking upfield. The Cyclones took a 17-10 lead with just under six minutes remaining in the quarter.
Texas Tech's second turnover of the half would end up leading to the Cyclones' second touchdown in a four-minute span. A scrambling Kingsbury fumbled when met by Matt Word and Anthony Forrest recovered at the Red Raider 40-yard line.
ISU went to work with an eight-yard carry by Whitver on first down, then got a pair of carries by Wagner for 16 more. Wallace hit Young down the left sideline for nine yards and, after a Tech facemask call, ended up at the four. Wagner then capped off the drive with a touchdown run and Benike tacked on the extra point to make it 24-10 with 1:50 left in the quarter.
Advantage: Iowa State.
With the chance to drive a dagger into the Red Raiders' heart, the Cyclones did just that with a 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that ended with a Wallace completion to Lance Young for 20 yards. The ISU quarterback completed 6-of-6 passes for 60 yards and the Cyclones converted on all four third-down conversions on the drive. Even more importantly, ISU's offense ran off 8:57 of clock, leaving the field with just under six minutes to play.
Needing three touchdowns in 5:51, Texas Tech needed three and a half minutes to get one of those. Kingsbury drove his team 65 yards on 10 plays, hooking up with Carlos Francis for a one-yard touchdown pass with 2:15 remaining. The Red Raider quarterback upped his passing total to 248 yards on 35-of-48 completions.
Advantage: Iowa State.