12:00 PM ET, November 20, 2004
Bill Snyder Stadium, MANHATTAN, KS
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- With a thrilling comeback, Iowa State is a win away from a surprising championship.
Iowa State trailed the Wildcats by two touchdowns early in the fourth quarter, but freshman Bret Meyer ran for one score and threw for another in a 28-0 run that gave the Cyclones a 37-23 victory Saturday.
"When you are down, you can only dream about things like this," Meyer said. "You just keep believing, keep playing together, and good things will happen."
Iowa State, which scored three times in the final 3½ minutes, broke a 10-year losing streak against Kansas State and spoiled Darren Sproles' 167-yard effort in his last game for the Wildcats.
"I'm not really mad. I'm just hurt," said Sproles, who entered the season on the Heisman short list but has only broken 100 yards five times this season. "We had that team, but we lost. We just couldn't finish."
The Cyclones (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) became bowl-eligible for the fourth time in five years and will win their first North Division title if they can beat Missouri next week in their regular-season finale. Their four-game conference winning streak is their first since 1978.
The Cyclones had lost 13 straight conference games before starting their winning streak and putting themselves in position for their first trip to the Big 12 title game.
"Might as well take it all the way," said Stevie Hicks, who ran for a career-high 156 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown with just over two minutes to go.
Kansas State (4-7, 2-6), last year's Big 12 champion, finished with its worst record and first losing season since the 1992 team also went 4-7.
"We went on the field determined," coach Bill Snyder said. "I'm just not so sure we ended up that way."
Sproles had a 41-yard touchdown run for Kansas State, extending his school record to 48 TDs. Quarterback Allen Webb ran for two scores for the Wildcats, but also committed two costly turnovers late in the fourth quarter.
Webb's second TD, a 1-yarder, put Kansas State up 23-9 on the third play of the fourth quarter. But Nik Moser blocked Joe Rheem's extra point, and the momentum from then on belonged to the Cyclones.
"It didn't look real good at that point, but the kids just found a way to make plays and come back and win it," Iowa State coach Dan McCarney said. "It was just an outstanding team victory for us."
Meyer's 1-yard TD keeper with just under 10½ minutes left got the Cyclones within 23-16, and his 3-yard pass to Todd Miller -- set up by Todd Blythe's 51-yard catch to the Wildcats 9 -- tied it at 23 with 3:24 to go.
Kansas State appeared to catch a break when the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, but Webb fumbled two plays later and Tim Dobbins recovered at the Wildcats' 35.
Hicks carried for 15 yards to the 20, then broke up the middle on the next play for a 30-23 lead. Then, on the first snap of Kansas State's next drive, LaMarcus Hicks intercepted Webb's pass and returned it 40 yards to put the Cyclones up 37-23.
"We just took it for granted," Kansas State defensive tackle Jermaine Berry said. "There were a couple of minutes left, and the next thing I knew, I was putting my head down in tears."
Sproles finished his career with 4,979 yards rushing. His 36-yard carry set up Kansas State's first TD, Webb's 1-yard keeper for a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. That followed field goals of 30 yards by Iowa State's Bret Culbertson and 51 yards by Rheem.
Culbertson hit a 36-yarder late in the first half and cut Kansas State's lead to 17-9 with a 20-yarder early in the third.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-17||4-14|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-2|
|FG||7:55||BRET CULBERTSON 30 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 19 yards.
|FG||3:55||JOE RHEEM 51 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 31 yards.
|TD||5:30||ALLEN WEBB 1 YD RUN (JOE RHEEM KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 57 yards.
|FG||0:38||BRET CULBERTSON 36 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 5 yards.
|TD||12:20||DARREN SPROLES 41 YD RUN (JOE RHEEM KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 63 yards.
|FG||4:25||BRET CULBERTSON 20 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||14:17||ALLEN WEBB 1 YD RUN (BLOCKED XP)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 71 yards.
|TD||10:29||BRET MEYER 1 YD RUN (BRET CULBERTSON KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 60 yards.
|TD||3:24||TODD MILLER 3 YD PASS FROM BRET MEYER (BRET CULBERTSON KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||2:07||STEVIE HICKS 20 YD RUN (BRET CULBERTSON KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 35 yards.
|TD||1:48||LAMARCUS HICKS 40 YD INTERCEPTION RETURN (BRET CULBERTSON KICK)||37||23|