Iowa State Cyclones vs.Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Tip-off: Monday, December 31, 2012 – 3:30 PM ET
Liberty Bowl, MEMPHIS, TN
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane have an opportunity to match their single-season victories record when they make their eighth bowl appearance in 10 years. However, YouWager experts believe that Tulsa’s upcoming rival will not be easy.
The Iowa State Cyclones beat the eventual Conference USA champions in this season’s opener and tonight they head into the Liberty Bowl motivated to finish with a winning record for the first time in three years.
The Golden Hurricane (10-3) won 11 games for the only time in program history in 2008, but they gave themselves a chance to tie that mark with an overtime win over Central Florida in the conference title game Dec. 1. Alex Singleton’s school-record 41st career touchdown, a 1-yard dive, gave Tulsa their first C-USA championship since they won the inaugural game in 2005.
A rematch against the Cyclones may also be a good thing since Iowa State (6-6) rallied from an early deficit for a 38-23 home victory over the Golden Hurricane on Sept. 1.
Tulsa led 16-7 after the opening quarter of that game however the Cyclones took command by scoring the next 24 points. Shontrelle Johnson ran for a career-high 120 yards and a touchdown in that win while Steele Jantz passed for two TDs.
Nevertheless, Johnson didn’t gain more than 73 yards in any of his next 11 games and is out for this one after injuring his right knee in a practice earlier in December.
In the mean time Jantz was replaced by freshman Sam Richardson during a 51-23 win versus the Kansas Jayhawks on Nov. 17, which made the Cyclones bowll eligible for the third time in coach Paul Rhoads’ four seasons.
Iowa State beat the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 2009 Insight Bowl to finish 7-6. They were 6-7 last season after losing to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.
However, the Cyclones are not heading into this bowl game with much momentum, having lost five of seven after a 4-1 start that included an upset at then-No. 15 TCU Horned Frogs on Oct. 6.
After going 23 of 27 for 250 yards and four touchdowns against the Jayhawks, Richardson completed only 13 of 31 passes for 162 yards — in part to due to blustery conditions — in a 31-24 defeat versus the West Virginia Mountaineers on Nov. 23, even when he did connect on three TDs and run for 119 yards.
According to the NCAA football odds, the Golden Hurricane had a three-game bowl win streak snapped n 2011 with a 24-21 loss against the BYU Cougars in the Armed Forces Bowl. After winning the C-USA title in 2005, Tulsa beat the Fresno State Bulldogs 31-24 in the Liberty Bowl.