Call it a case of trading places. It was nearly a role reversal of scoring compared to when the teams met in their season opener four months ago.
But on Monday, the last day of 2012, it was the Cyclones (6-7) who took the early lead, going up 17-7 in the opening quarter. And it was TU taking over, outscoring Iowa State, 24-0 through the rest of the game.
A ground attack was the highlight as Tulsa grinded out 320 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
The key play was Alex Singleton scoring from one yard up the middle on a fourth-and-one play before the end of the third quarter. That extended Tulsa’s lead to 28-17.
The TD was set up by a 48-yard gallop from Trey Watts, that gave TU a first down at the Cyclone 21-yard line.
Singleton would finish with three TDs on the day. The other two scores each came from two yards.
Watts, son of former Oklahoma quarterback J.C. Watts, was TU’s leading rusher with 149 yards on 25 carries. He was named Liberty Bowl MVP after the game.
The Cyclones went up 10-0 when Jeremy Reeves intercepted a out-route pass off of TU quarterback Cody Green, taking it 31 yards to the end zone.
After Singleton’s first TD put Tulsa on the scoreboard, Iowa State signal caller Sam Richardson hit Ernst Brun for a 69-yard TD pass.
But the Hurricane soon took over and would never relinquish.
Green. who threw for 93 yards on 11-of-23 passes, trimmed the deficit to 17-14 when he scored on an 8-yard keeper less than half a minute into the second quarter.
Singleton’s second TD put Tulsa in front for good, 21-17, with 11:10 left in the first half and that’s where the score stood until the clincher near the end of the third.