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(Friday, November 23)
Final Score: West Virginia 31, Iowa State 24
Ames, IA (Sports Network) - Geno Smith passed for 236 yards and two touchdowns to give the West Virginia Mountaineers a 31-24 victory over the Iowa State Cyclones in a Big 12 Conference battle at Jack Trice Stadium.
Smith completed 22-of-31 attempts while under center for WVU (6-5, 3-5 Big 12), which snapped a five-game losing streak and became bowl eligible with the win. Shawne Alston racked up 130 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts to pace the rushing attack while Stedman Bailey reeled in seven receptions for 82 yards and a score. Tavon Austin also had a very productive day with 261 all-purpose yards and one touchdown catch.
Sam B. Richardson finished with 162 yards and three touchdowns on 13-of-31 passing for Iowa State (6-6, 3-6), which lost for the third time in four outings to finish its regular season. Richardson also rushed for a team-high 119 yards. Josh Lenz made a team-best four receptions for 48 yards and a score in the losing effort.
The only points of the opening quarter came courtesy of a 42-yard field goal by Mountaineers' place kicker Tyler Bitancurt.
WVU added onto its lead at the 10:34 mark of the second frame when Alston punched it in front a yard out to punctuate a five-play, 70-yard drive. The Cyclones' ended the visitor's 10-0 run when Richardson completed an eight-yard touchdown toss to Jerome Tiller with just under eight minutes to go before halftime.
The Mountaineers came right back with an eight-play, 70-yard touchdown drive that ended when Smith connected with Bailey from six yards away. ISU closed the gap just before the intermission as Richardson pushed the offense 71 yards down the field in just 1:14 and completed an 18-yard pass for six points to Lenz with 18 seconds showing on the clock. Richardson's second touchdown pass narrowed the deficit to 17-14 as the game progressed into the second half.
Just like in the first half, Bitancurt opened up the scoring, this time with a 44-yard field goal at the mid-point of the third quarter. The Cyclones charged back and took their first lead of the game with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Richardson to Quenton Bundrage.
In the final quarter of play, Bitancurt chipped in a 35-yard field goal to put WVU back on top, 23-21, with 9:35 left in regulation.
ISU countered as Edwin Arcea booted a 49-yard kick through the uprights that gave the home team the lead with under seven minutes remaining. The Mountaineers refused to quit and Smith then completed a short pass to Austin, who found room to run 75 yards after the catch for the go-ahead touchdown. Austin then rushed it for two points to put WVU up 31-24.
The Cyclones drove towards the Mountaineers' end zone on their next drive, but Jeff Woody fumbled at the five yard line and the defense recovered in the end zone. WVU then managed to run the clock out to become bowl eligible.
Both teams were able to produce on the ground as WVU rushed for 239 yards on 41 attempts and the Cyclones tallied 234 yards on 46 carries.
11/23 21:51:04 ET
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