AMES, Iowa (AP) — David Montgomery ran for 145 yards and two touchdowns and No. 24 Iowa State barely survived a near-upset by non-scholarship FCS school Drake on Saturday, winning 27-24.
Brock Purdy had 153 yards passing and a TD for the Cyclones (8-4), who fought through persistent rain and a sloppy field to win their sixth straight home game, tying a school record.
It hardly felt like a victory though.
The Bulldogs, buoyed by conditions that made footing more important than formations, forced turnovers on back-to-back possessions to open the second half. They turned the second one, a pick of Kyle Kempt, into a 19-yard TD pass from Grant Kraemer to Devin Cates and a stunning 24-20 lead with 3:37 left in the third quarter.
That finally woke the Cyclones up.
They responded with a 7-yard touchdown reception by Deshaunte Jones to jump back on top, and Spencer Benton and JaQuan Bailey came up with huge sacks to force Drake punts.
Montgomery’s 2-yard run on a 3rd-down-and-1 with 1:26 left sealed it for the relieved Cyclones.
Kraemer threw for 221 yards and three TDs for the Bulldogs (7-4). They outgained Iowa State 279-273.
Iowa State: The Cyclones have long prided themselves on having one of the nation’s best grass gridirons. But seven home games and a morning filled with sleet, snow and rain — at times, all happening at once — literally leveled the playing field. It was so muddy that Iowa State’s band wasn’t allowed to perform at halftime. Still, the Cyclones looked beyond uninspired — and it might have made them look less than desirable when bowls make their picks on Sunday.
Drake: The Bulldogs made the most of their moment on a big stage, and coach Rick Fox should be applauded for having his guys ready to go on short notice after it agreed to fill in for Incarnate Word, which called off its trip to Ames after reaching the FCS playoffs. To blame this loss all on Iowa State would be unfair, because the Bulldogs looked the part from the opening whistle.