West Virginia holds off Iowa State

It came down to the final seconds, but West Virginia has now won its second-straight conference game.

A Hail Mary attempt from Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy fell incomplete as the clock struck zero, giving the Mountaineers the 38-31 win over the Cyclones.

For most of the game, however, the shoe was on the other foot as the abilities of the Iowa State offense saw the Cyclones rarely playing catch-up.

Iowa State running back Breece Hall opened the game with a 70-yard rushing touchdown on the Cyclones’ first drive, forcing the Mountaineers to work from behind early.

West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege did his best to keep the Mountaineers in the game. On the team’s second chance with the ball, he completed five passes to move the offense down the field. The drive eventually culminated in a Leddie Brown rushing touchdown, his 10th of the season.

Two minutes and change later, Iowa State was quick to respond. Quarterback Brock Purdy juked a WVU defender and connected with wide receiver Tarique Milton on the first play of the drive, resulting in a 68-yard score.

Seconds before the end of the first quarter, Doege hit wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton on a 20-yard touchdown, tying the score at 14. The drive further swung momentum in favor of the Mountaineers as the two team’s headed into the second quarter, and it showed.

Following an Iowa State three-and-out, West Virginia punt returner Isaiah Esdale broke off a large return. The Mountaineers charged into Iowa State territory, making it to the Cyclones’ 10-yard line before settling for a field goal.

The two teams traded possessions as the second quarter clock wound down, but WVU’s offensive miscues in the final two minutes gave Iowa State an opportunity to add to the scoreboard just before the break.

A 34-yard field goal allowed the Cyclones to tie the score with 18 seconds remaining, and the two teams entered halftime with a 17-17 score.

It took roughly four minutes to break the tie as, in the third quarter, a Doege pass was intercepted by Iowa State’s Jake Hummel for a 24-yard touchdown. The Mountaineers were able to respond five plays later as Ford-Wheaton tapped his toe to preserve a 23-yard score.

The tie would last for only five plays. A 53-yard rush from Hall put the Cyclones deep into West Virginia territory, and Purdy would find the end zone on a 1-yard keeper.

West Virginia opened the fourth quarter with possession of the football, and Doege was able to connect with Winston Wright on a 22-yard touchdown — Doege’s third of the day — to tie the score at 31.

After an Iowa State punt, the Mountaineers charged down the field in search of another score. Doege was able to connect with Ford-Wheaton on a 45-yard gain to enter the Iowa State red zone before Brown found his way into the end zone three plays later.

The Cyclones would not quit, as Purdy scampered on a 22-yard rush to cross midfield on the following drive. But, on the next play, a fumble was recovered by WVU, stalling the drive.

Iowa State’s next opportunity to tie came in the game’s final moments but, after a crucial false start penalty on the Cyclones, Purdy’s pass as the clock expired fell incomplete and cemented the WVU win.

The Mountaineers ended the game with 492 yards of total offense.

Doege threw for 370 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions on 30-of-46 passing.

Brown rushed for a total of 109 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.

Wright and Ford-Wheaton each tallied more than 100 yards receiving.

Josh Chandler-Semedo finished with a team-high 12 tackles. The next closest, Sean Mahone and Alonzo Addae, each tallied six.

West Virginia (4-4) stays at home next week, hosting Oklahoma State. The time and broadcast information will be announced.

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