Iowa State scored 24 points in the fourth quarter to WVU's seven, and that led to the Mountaineers' third overtime game of the season – one they couldn't win.
The Mountaineers had already lost hope of going to a bowl game with a defeat at Kansas two weeks ago, and WVU was unable to rally. WVU fell to 4-8 and will not head to a bowl for the first time since 2001. The Mountaineers finished eight in the Big 12 Conference this season.
"Disappointing end to a disappointing season," said WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen.
In overtime, Iowa State opened up the scoring with a field goal from 40 yards out to gain its first lead of the contest at 41-38.
After an incompletion on third and long by WVU on its overtime possession, kicker Josh Lambert hit a 41-yard field goal to tie the game and send it to a second overtime.
Lambert would tack on a 26-yard field goal in the second overtime to take a 44-41 lead. Iowa State would hit its field goal, as well, and take the game into a third overtime.
On the first play of the third overtime, quarterback Grant Rohach found receiver Justin Coleman over the middle of the field for a 25-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion was good to make it 52-44.
On fourth-and-goal at the five-yard line, WVU quarterback Clint Trickett threw a pass to his right, it was tipped up in the air and caught but the receiver fell short of the end zone to end the game.
On senior night, running back Charles Sims was his usual productive self. He led the Mountaineers' offense and finished with 149 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.
"We just didn't execute," Sims said about the end of the game. "We made mistakes and turned the ball over."
The star of the game on offense, however, was junior receiver Mario Alford. He finished the game with eight catches for 215 yards and one touchdown.
Quarterback Clint Trickett, after missing the Kansas game due to a concussion he suffered against Texas, had one of his best games as a Mountaineer. He finished 21-of-37 for 356 yards and two touchdowns. He had two interceptions, as well.
WVU's offense, which has struggled all season long, found its way against ISU. The Mountaineers finished with 568 total yards. Iowa State, however, had 575 in its victory.
West Virginia looked to have sealed the victory on a 76-yard touchdown pass from Trickett to receiver Mario Alford with 13:42 to play in the game to make it 38-21 WVU. Iowa State didn't flinch, though.
Iowa State added a touchdown with 9:38 to go, as Rohach found receiver Quenton Bundrage for a 62-yard score to cut the lead to 10.
On WVU's next drive, the Mountaineers turned the ball over on a fumble after a catch by redshirt freshman receiver Vernon Davis Jr. Iowa State turned that into a field goal with 4:21 to play to make it a one-possession game.
"You can sit there and have the mentality where I'm going to run the ball three times … and then punt it," Holgorsen said. "With eight minutes to go, you have to keep moving the ball."
With WVU up by seven and under three minutes to go, head coach Dana Holgorsen elected to throw it on third-and-long deep in its own territory. Trickett was picked off by safety Jacquez Washington at the 33-yard line.
The Cyclones would tie the game on a 19-yard pass from Rohach to Coleman with one minute to play.
The Mountaineers had a chance on the last play of regulation, but Trickett's pass was intercepted at the goal line.
"They kept fighting and kept coming back, and we didn't do our job as a defense," said WVU safety Karl Joseph. "We've just got to learn how to finish. That's all it comes down to."
WVU jumped out to an early 17-0 lead on a field goal from Lambert, a seven-yard touchdown run from Sims and a fumble recovery for a touchdown by Joseph.
The Mountaineers gained a 31-7 lead on a 76-yard touchdown run from Sims, which pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark on the season on senior night.
Iowa State added a touchdown before the half to cut the West Virginia lead to 31-14 at the break.
The Cyclones made the comeback after that and took the game to overtime.
Iowa State was led by Rohach, who had 397 total yards.