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Oklahoma State's upset loss to Iowa State was a 'perfect storm'

OKLAHOMA STATE FOOTBALL — Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said before Friday's game the Cyclones would need some breaks in order to upset No. 2 Oklahoma State. ISU got just that with five OSU turnovers and suspect special teams play.
by John Helsley Published: November 19, 2011

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.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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