VOL. 10 | NO. 53 | Saturday, December 30, 2017
Iowa State Edges Memphis 21-20 in AutoZone Liberty Bowl
By Don Wade
The Memphis Tigers came up just short in their effort to win 11 games for the first time in program history, falling 21-20 to Iowa Saturday in the 59th AutoZone Liberty Bowl before a sold-out stadium.
The Tigers finish the year 10-3 and 7-1 at home. Iowa State, from the Big 12, finishes at 8-5.
Iowa State wide receiver Allen Lazard was named MVP of the game after catching a bowl-tying 10 passes for 142 yards with a touchdown.
Quarterback Riley Ferguson, who completed 21 of 33 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns and went over 4,000 yards for the season (a program first), was voted Most Valuable Memphis offensive player for the game. Linebacker Genard Avery was voted the Tigers’ top defensive player for the game.
Senior wideout Anthony Miller finished his career with a four-catch, 55-yard day and a touchdown. Patrick Taylor had 68 rushing yards on 17 attempts. Receiver Phil Mayhue had five catches for 85 yards and a TD.
The game was not without controversy. Memphis appeared to have intercepted a pass at the goal line but Avery was called for roughing the passer. Replays showed the contact to be minimal.
The Cyclones then scored when Lazard caught a tipped pass from quarterback Kyle Kempt for a 5-yard touchdown. That gave Iowa State a 21-17 lead with 4:28 left in the third quarter.
A Memphis field goal from Riley Patterson with 2:16 left in the third quarter cut the lead to one, at 21-20.
Iowa State had the ball at the Memphis 1-yard late in the fourth quarter when running back Dave Montgomery fumbled as he reached the goal line – or just after crossing the goal line – and Tigers safety Jonathan Cook recovered for a touchback with 4:06 left in the game.
Iowa State challenged the call on the field, but the ruling stood.
The Tigers ran out of downs at the 1:56 mark when quarterback Riley Ferguson overthrew wideout Phil Mayhue on 4th and 10 at the ISU 40-yard line.
Iowa State finished with 346 total yards and Memphis had 339. Iowa State tied the AutoZone Liberty Bowl record with six sacks.