#2 Oklahoma 49, #9 Iowa State 3
October 19 – Memorial Stadium – Norman, Okla.
With his Heisman Trophy hopes all but shattered and ninth-ranked Iowa State reeling from a horrendous showing in Norman against the nation's second-ranked team, Wallace blew off some steam. He had good reason to relieve some of his frustrations. Oklahoma had the quarterback's number throughout a 49-3 victory Saturday afternoon, as Wallace threw three interceptions while hitting on just 4-of-22 passes for 43 yards. As a team, the Cyclones mustered just 60 yards of total offense and got just one 29-yard field goal by Adam Benike to show for the day's effort. While holding ISU's tailback tandem of Wagner and Rutland to 46 rushing yards on 14 carries, Oklahoma's defense locked up on a deep receiving corps and made Wallace's afternoon a long one. The senior quarterback found just one receiver all day, hitting Young three times for 43 yards. The Sooners' block of a Tony Yelk field goal on the game's opening possession had a snowball effect on the fortunes of McCarney's team. Derrick Strait came through nearly untouched to deflect the ball into the end zone. Instead of falling on the ball for a safety, Cyclone Anthony Forrest attempted to kick it out of bounds but whiffed. Terrance Simms then fell on the ball for a touchdown and 7-0 OU lead just 1:02 in.
Quote to Note: "I don't care either (if this effects my Heisman Trophy chances). If it does, it does. I don't give a hoot about no Heisman or what not. If it damages it, it damages it. Who cares? I'll look on to the next game." (Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace)
Game No. 9
#7 Texas 21, #17 Iowa State 10
October 26 – Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium – Austin, Texas
ISU grabbed a three-point edge at halftime, but a third-quarter 59-yard touchdown run by Texas' Cedric Benson put the Longhorns ahead to stay. Wallace hit on 12-of-19 passes for 177 yards in the first half, including a 16-yard pass in the corner of the end zone to Young with 2:16 left before halftime. The Cyclones outgained the Longhorns 217-176 before intermission, but Texas owned an edge of 142 yards over the final 30 minutes. Benson rushed for 199 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns. The second half was a series of missed opportunities for the ISU offense. Nik Moser blocked a Texas punt in the third quarter that Nick Linder recovered. With a fresh set of downs at the Longhorn 29, the Cyclones would end up settling for a 32-yard field goal attempt by Benike that sailed wide right. The ISU kicker, eventually named All-Big 12, suffered a rare off day by missing a pair of short field goals. Wallace struggled during a lackluster second half and passed for 226 yards overall on 18-of-39 completions. The Cyclones' ground woes continued as Wagner and Rutland combined for only 54 yards on 23 carries.
Quote to Note: "I am very disappointed with the outcome but I know that we played with a lot of heart and emotion. We just couldn't capitalize on the plays when we needed to. We made a lot of adjustments and fixed some things that enabled us to help the team and get the offense the ball." (Iowa State linebacker Chris Whitaker)
Game No. 10
#22 Iowa State 42, Missouri 35
November 2 – Jack Trice Stadium – Ames
Wallace had already played the most outstanding game of his career, but when Iowa State took possession with just under 3:23 remaining and the score tied, he had the chance to add an exclamation point. He did just that, leading his team on a 13-play touchdown drive that spanned 93 yards and handed the Cyclones a 42-35 victory and bowl eligibility for the third consecutive year. Wallace put the capper on a performance not many will soon forget. He completed 31-of-47 passes for 425 yards and one touchdown and added 68 more on the ground for a school-record 493 total yards. When the game was in the balance, he was just as spectacular. His 33-yard carry put ISU in scoring range and later led to Mike Wagner's clinching touchdown run. For the second time this season, two different receivers surpassed the 100-yard mark. Danielsen posted eight receptions for 152 yards, while Young caught seven for 148 and one touchdown. Pulling out a close game at home was just the anecdote for the Cyclones, who were reeling after back-to-back losses to top-10 teams. Like their recent performances, this one was not pretty from a defensive standpoint, but it was enough to fend off a pesky Missouri squad. Running the football on offense to complement Wallace's passing also served as a recipe for success. Wagner overcame a slow start to rush for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries and the Cyclones got 30 more from backup Brian Thompson.
Quote to Note: "Seneca was almost unbelievable, with seven yards short of 500 yards offense. I was disappointed he came up seven yards short of 500 yards offense. The guy is unbelievable. He's just an amazing football player and I'm really proud of him. His accuracy today was real phenomenal. Whether it was in the pocket, broken play, naked boot or getting outside, he was on the money." (Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney)
Game No. 11
#12 Kansas State 58, #21 Iowa State 7
November 9 – KSU Stadium – Manhattan, Kan.
Turnovers and penalties became the obvious theme of Iowa State's latest drubbing at the hands of Kansas State and never was that more evident than a six-minute, 18-second span of the third quarter. Wildcat defensive back Bobby Walker picked off Wallace twice and returned both for touchdowns in a 23-second span, then the Cyclones lost fumbles by Wallace and Rutland and one would turn into another scoring drive. The net result in a 58-7 blowout loss was six total turnovers over the course of yet another miserable day in Manhattan. When they weren't turning it over, ISU was most likely backing up offensively or giving its opponent extra benefits in the way of penalties. Head coach Dan McCarney likes to pride himself on having the least-penalized team in the Big 12, but on this night it was anything but. The Cyclones were whistled for 12 infractions—including 10 in the opening 30 minutes--that netted 100 total yards. While turnovers seemed to bring on the Cyclones' second-half demise, penalties cost them numerous opportunities on offense through the opening 30 minutes. ISU was flagged eight times for 10 times for 74 yards in the first half. Seven of those infractions came at inopportune times of the second quarter. Wallace threw for 162 yards on 11-of-26 completions, including three interceptions. He wasn't much of a factor on the ground, either, as he carried eight times for just four yards. His day would end prematurely in the fourth quarter when backup Cris Love subbed in for him with the game out of hand.
Quote to Note: "I just played sorry. I played bad. I take full responsibility for what happened today. It shouldn't have been that bad. I made a lot of mistakes that I should not have made and they capitalized on it. They had a good gameplan and played what we were trying to do pretty well. Basically, I just played crappy." (Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace)
Game No. 12
#17 Colorado 41, Iowa State 27
November 16 – Folsom Field – Boulder, Colo.
Turnovers and Colorado's vaunted running game combined to thwart a valiant effort by Iowa State. Colorado's ground attack was as good as billed, as Chris Brown and company racked up 331 rushing yards against the Cyclones. However, the game still had not been decided until the waning moments of the fourth quarter. ISU was vastly improved on offense from their 51-point drubbing at Kansas State, but turnovers once again proved to be its undoing. Wallace's fumbled shotgun snap was picked up by Buffalo Medford Moorer at the 29 and returned 71 yards for the touchdown to put the Buffs up 34-20. The Cyclones answered on the next series after the kick off with four straight Wallace completions and a six-yard keeper for the score to bring ISU back to within seven points. Colorado countered Iowa State's quick touchdown with their strength, the running game. Bobby Purify, playing most of the second half in place of Brown, carried the ball six straight times culminating with a five-yard touchdown scamper that made the score to 41-27. The late score sent the Cyclones back home bitterly disappointed after coming so close in their final conference contest of the 2002 season. Iowa State put on an eye catching offensive show themselves with 207 yards rushing and 265 passing on 24 of 35 passes. Wallace racked up 102 yards on the ground on quarterback keepers and options to add to his impressive passing totals. Five different receivers caught balls, led by Young's 83 yards.
Quote to Note: "The snap was high, but normally he'd handle it. It was just a mistake that was made. We'd have no chance to be part of history or have the kind of years we've had the last two years if it wasn't for Seneca Wallace." (Iowa State head coach Dan McCarney, referring to Wallace's fourth-quarter mishap)
Game No. 13
Connecticut 37, Iowa State 20
November 23 – Jack Trice Stadium – Ames
Want to get away? Iowa State couldn't have picked a better time for eight days away from football, especially after a second-half collapse at home against Connecticut. The Cyclones blew a double-digit third-quarter lead in falling 37-20 in their final regular season game. Turnovers, particularly from the quarterback position, continued to plague ISU in its regular season finale. UConn turned three turnovers into points Saturday afternoon and picked quarterback Seneca Wallace off four times. Those turnovers, along with a 68-yard momentum-swinging touchdown run from Terry Caulley, proved to bring about the Cyclones' downfall. Wallace, who completed just 19-of-44 passes for 216 yards and four interceptions, brought his turnover tally to 13 in the past three games. Three of his four picks against the Huskies came in a span of just over 13 minutes in the second half. The Cyclones look to finally gain some sort of control four minutes into the third quarter when Brian Thompson dashed 29 yards into the end zone for a 20-10 lead. But any sort of confidence was short lived. Two plays into the ensuing drive and just 45 seconds later, though, Caulley ran through the heart of ISU's defense untouched into the end zone. From that point on, Cyclone turnovers became more abundant than yards and UConn's balanced offense wore down an exhausted defense. The Huskies added a pair of Dan Orlovsky touchdown passes in five minutes to take a commanding 31-20 lead with 13:14 to play. Two Wallace interceptions led to Marc Hickok field goals to ice the 17-point victory.
Quote to Note: "I don't want to make any excuses, but everybody's banged up, tired and sick of hitting each other. We came out not focused. But you've got to give credit for them. They came back and beat us bad. It hurts. We had the lead and let it slip. This loss hurts us bad. We wanted to go out and play for these seniors. We'll get a week off and hopefully that's enough." (Iowa State defensive end Tyson Smith)