Iowa State's lack of a running game ultimately forced a punt on the game's opening possession. Brian Thompson started at running back, but gained just one yard combined on a pair of first-and-10s. Seneca Wallace converted a pair of third-and-long passes to Lane Danielsen and Jack Whitver, but the drive later stalled with a Wallace incompletion on 3rd-and-4.
A questionable call on UConn's first play would mean the difference between an ISU touchdown and Husky score. Jeremy Loyd looked to strip receiver Wes Timko and rumble into the end zone, but a group of Big East officials ruled that the wideout was down.
UConn took advantage, driving 80 yards in all for a 7-0 lead. They did it on the strength of Dan Orlovsky's arm. The quarterback completed 5-of-6 passes for 62 yards, including a 17-yarder to tight end Tommy Collins in the end zone.
Turnovers have hampered the Cyclones in recent weeks and that continued on their second possession. UConn's Maurice Lloyd stripped Whitver of the ball after a reception that would have been a first down. Lloyd returned it to the ISU six-yard line. Four plays later, the Huskies moved ahead 10-0 on a 24-yard field goal by Marc Hickok.
Both offenses endured three-and-outs to begin the second quarter. Then ISU's running game finally started to assert itself. After rushing for just six yards on four carries throughout the opening 15 minutes, the Cyclones drove 73 yards on eight carries for their first touchdown of the game.
Wallace threw just one pass on the scoring drive, and it was nearly picked off by a UConn defender. Hiawatha Rutland, who came on for the drive to rush for 55 yards, capped it off with a three-yard touchdown run to make it 10-7 with 9:31 left in the quarter.
Thanks to great field position after a UConn three-and-out, the Cyclones were able to knot the score at 10-10. ISU took over at the Husky 36-yard line and eventually scored on an Adam Benike field goal from 31 yards out. The field goal came with 1:29 left in the first half.
UConn opened the second half with a three-and-out and kicked it away to the Cyclones. After getting nothing out of Rutland on three carries, ISU turned to Thompson on 1st-and-10 at the 29-yard line. The redshirt freshman responded with one of the most impressive runs out of a Cyclone tailback this season. Thompson, bottled up on an inside run, cut it outside and ran down the left sideline for the touchdown. The score gave his team a 20-10 lead with 11:01 left in the quarter.
Since taking over an early 10-0 lead, UConn's offense had been nearly non-existent, going three-and-out in four of five drives. The other drive ended with Forrest's interception. However, that run of futility ended on its second play of the ensuing drive. Terry Caulley cut back on a run off right tackle and dashed 68 yards into the end zone to cut ISU's lead to 20-17.
The Cyclones took over and went to the ground four consecutive times, gaining a combined 33 yards. But Wallace's first pass was picked off at the ISU 38-yard line. However, UConn couldn't turn the turnover into any points and was forced to punt after a three-and-out.
Another Wallace interception later in the quarter did lead to some Husky points, though. Wallace rolled out on 2nd-and-10 deep in his own territory and lofted a pass into the hands of Terrance Smith. UConn took over at the Cyclone 24-yard line and immediately punched it into the end zone. Orlovsky hit a wide-open Timko who walked in for a score with 3:15 remaining in the third quarter.
In spite of terrible field position to start their next drive, the Huskies managed to strike a deafening blow early in the fourth quarter. Orlovsky led his team 96 yards on just nine plays for a touchdown to put UConn up 31-20 with 13:14 to play. The quarterback's 53-yard completion to Jason Williams capped the drive.
In need of some points in a hurry, ISU's offense stuttered to another three-and-out. With a chance to tack on some insurance points, the Huskies got a 46-yard field goal to take a 34-20 lead with 8:14 to play.
Another forgettable day from Wallace continued on the ensuing drive as he was picked by Lloyd on a 3rd-and-6 pass play. The UConn defender returned it to the five-yard line and set up a 24-yard field goal by Hickok with 5:35 remaining.