AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Iowa State vs. Tulsa
Despite losing five of its past seven games and finishing next to last in the Big 12 Conference, Iowa State (6-6) got the nod over Louisiana Tech and will take on Conference USA champion Tulsa (10-3), which defeated UCF 33-27 in overtime to win its first Conference USA title since 2005. This game is Dec. 31 in Memphis.
ISU has plenty of hope heading into bowl season with the emergence of redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Richardson in its final two games. He was 36-of-58 for 412 yards and seven touchdowns with zero interceptions in the final two games. Richardson has played with a confidence and poise that should make Cyclones fans excited about the future. The Cyclones feature a solid defense which allowed 23.3 points per game this season, so their offensive success tends to make the difference between a win and a loss for ISU.
Tulsa hasn’t had one spectacular individual on offense this season yet the Golden Hurricane saw three different running backs rush for 765 yards or more in 2012. Running backs Trey Watts, Ja’Terian Douglas and Alex Singleton helped TU average 240.2 rushing yards per game this season. The Golden Hurricane won seven straight games after a 38-23 season-opening loss to Iowa State and rebounded from a disappointing 35-27 loss at SMU, which finished 6-6, before winning the C-USA title game.
In that season opener in Ames, former ISU starting QB Steele Jantz threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score. Shontrelle Johnson added a career-high 120 yards rushing for the Cyclones, who scored 24 straight points and held off a late rally by the Golden Hurricane. Cody Green’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Keyarris Garrett brought Tulsa within 31-23 in the fourth quarter. But the Golden Hurricane’s final drive fizzled when Deon Broomfield intercepted Green with 2:04 left. Johnson’s 5-yard TD run on the next play sealed the win for Iowa State. Green had 198 yards passing and two touchdowns in his first career start for Tulsa.
WagerWeb.com opening odds: pick’em (51.5) Check our current lines
WagerWeb.com trends: Cyclones are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game. Cyclones are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games. Cyclones are 0-3-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Golden Hurricane are 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 vs. Big 12. Golden Hurricane are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.