Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads called his team's 37-31 toppling of the second-ranked Cowboys “a perfect storm.”
And he's right, with certain conditions all coming together in Ames to create an atmosphere ripe for the upset.
By night's end, they were calling it the greatest win in Cyclones history – ISU's first win over a team ranked sixth or higher in history.
“This was another historic victory for Iowa State,” said Rhoads.
And it was a devastating loss for OSU, which saw national championship and Heisman dreams absorb a major blow.
Here is a look at five key factors in the upset:
The Cowboys have lost nine fumbles for the season. Joseph Randle's responsible for four in the past two weeks. Randle's sudden struggles continued Friday, when coughed up two balls that halted OSU possessions prematurely.
Factor in three Brandon Weeden interceptions, including on in the second overtime, and the Pokes played giveaway more than their usual takeaway.
“Ball didn't bounce our way at times,” Weeden said.
Too many times.
Annually one of the nation's best at special teams, the Cowboys suffered collapses on three key plays in the kicking game.
1) After driving for a touchdown on the opening possession of the second half, boosting its lead to 24-7 and hinting at a blowout, OSU's kickoff team surrendered a 50-yard kickoff return to the Cyclones' Jarvis West. Working with a short field, ISU moved quickly to a touchdown that restored confidence.
2) Immediately after that score, the Cyclones boldly went with an onside kick, and recovered. They didn't fully capitalize, fumbling the ball away. But the effort amped up the crowd and announced to the Cowboys that they weren't backing down.
3) Despite all that went wrong for OSU, it still had a chance to win with Quinn Sharp setting up for a 37-yard field goal late in regulation. Sharp's kick missed – barely – and allowed the Cyclones to get into overtime.
OSU's run game managed but 60 yards on 18 carries – a 3.3 average per rush, compared to its 5.2 average entering the game. Needless to say, the offensive line didn't have a great day.
The Cowboys' longest run from scrimmage: 10 yards. Randle's fumbles led to a lengthy benching, removing one of the offense's premier playmakers, and turning OSU's offense one-dimensional.
ISU redshirt freshman Jared Barnett didn't always look pretty, but he was effective, producing 460 yards of total offense. As a runner, he gave the Cowboys fits. And when OSU tried to pressure him with blitzes, defenders often raced right at him, allowing him to make one move and flee for big yards.
The postgame scene, with students and fans flooding the field in celebration, provided a stunning visual painting the excitement of what the win meant for Iowa State.
That was only taste of what Jack Trice Stadium represented all night, with a raucous crowd singing and swaying and roaring throughout. The crowd was a factor, more than A&M or any other place the Cowboys have played this season.