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What a way to end the game.
After scoring 10 unanswered points to pull within a touchdown of Clemson in the fourth quarter, Brock Purdy's successful fourth-and-2 scramble with 33 seconds left was negated when Purdy fumbled the ball backwards, behind the line of scrimmage, where he recovered it, leading to a turnover on downs.
Final score: Clemson 20, Iowa State 13.
It's a painful way for Purdy and the rest of this program's historic senior class to go out. But this game wound up much closer than it seemed like it would at one point in the third quarter, when Clemson had pretty much seized all the momentum.
Here's how the Cheez-It Bowl played out.
1:52 Q4: Here we go
Iowa State will start its possession, with one timeout remaining, at its 10-yard line, needing a touchdown to tie the game. Clemson 20, Iowa State 13. Here we go.
9:42 Q4: Clemson 20, Iowa State 13
We've got a game, folks.
Iowa State's best drive of the game (eight plays, 63 yards, 5:18 of clock) ended with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Brock Purdy to Charlie Kolar.
Brock Purdy was excellent. He went 5-for-5 for 32 yards on the drive, and he scrambled for 9 yards on a third-and-9 to get the Cyclones to Clemson's 18-yard line.
The Cyclones got bailed out a couple times on the drive, though. A trick-play pass from Jaylin Noel got intercepted, but it was called back due to a roughing the passer penalty. Daniel Jackson then fumbled after catching a pass on the next play, but it went harmlessly out of bounds.
Some fluky plays on both sides today.
End of Q3: Clemson 20, Iowa State 6
A big pass break-up from Craig McDonald, another freshman getting lots of opportunity today, forced Clemson to punt. Iowa State will take over at its 36 when the fourth quarter begins. It feels bizarre to say this because it felt like Clemson had all the momentum just a few minutes ago ... but, down two scores with a full quarter left, the Cyclones are still very much in this game.
1:23 Q3: Clemson 20, Iowa State 6
Well, Iowa State would have loved a touchdown there. But at least a field goal makes this a two-possession game.
The Cyclones didn't gain a yard after Jake Hummel's interception put them on the Clemson 28-yard line. Brock Purdy's pass to a wide-open Jaylin Noel sailed right, pulling Noel out of bounds. Another incompletion and a no-gain, third-and-10 run from Jirehl Brock set Andrew Mevis up for his 45-yard field goal.
2:27 Q3: The break Iowa State needed
After a three-and-out on offense and a less-than-ideal punt, Will McDonald tipped DJ Uiagaleilei's pass at the line and Jake Hummel picked it off at the Clemson 28.
4:01 Q3: Clemson 20, Iowa State 3
What a turn of events.
On second-and-5 from Iowa State's 15-yard line, Brock Purdy had his pass deflected high into the air at the line of scrimmage. He then tried to bat the ball down but he actually smacked it right to Clemson's Mario Goodrich, who returned the interception 15 yards for the touchdown.
Weird, weird play. It almost looked like Purdy was trying to bat the ball forward to an Iowa State receiver close to him, but it was hard to tell.
4:54 Q3: Clemson 13, Iowa State 3
Another long, methodical scoring drive (16 plays), this time ending in a touchdown for Clemson. And this one is extra painful for the Cyclones, because they should have gotten off the field on a third down earlier in the drive.
On a third-and-4 from Clemson's 38, DJ Uiagaleilei was nearly sacked but he lofted up a rainbow pass to the sideline ... that was somehow caught by Beaux Collins in the middle of two Cyclones. First down. Stunner.
Clemson eventually scored on a 12-yard run from Will Shipley after the rest of the drive that featured two conversions (a third-and-1 and a fourth-and-1) to lead to the score.
12:33 Q3: Still Clemson 6, Iowa State 3
Clemson's defense continues to give Iowa State fits, as a holding penalty helped fuel a three-and-out to start the second half. Two iffy throws from Brock Purdy to Jaylin Noel and Charlie Kolar didn't help, either, although Kolar wasn't making that first down even if the third-down pass was perfect.
The Tigers will take over at their 21-yard line.
Halftime: Clemson 6, Iowa State 3
As ESPN play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch said entering halftime: First one to score a touchdown wins?
We knew with two of the country's best defenses that this game would be low-scoring. And, well, yep, it is. Tigers kicker B.T. Potter had made 13 consecutive field goals before missing from 36 yards to end the half.
So that's one missed field goal on each side. A wash.
Brock Purdy is 9-for-15 for 112 yards. Jirehl Brock has 27 yards on eight carries and Deon Silas has one carry for 5 yards, officially burning his redshirt. On defense, freshman Beau Freyler has come up with some big plays in his first career start.
Iowa State gets the ball to start the second half.
4:07 Q2: Clemson 6, Iowa State 3
A missed field goal on one end ... a made field goal on the other.
After Andrew Mevis' missed 43-yarder, Clemson took advantage of the good field position and B.T. Potter drilled a 51-yard field goal. It's a barn-burner, folks.
7:33 Q2: Missed field goal ... Iowa State 3, Clemson 3
That was quite an eventful drive for the Cyclones.
First of all, true freshman Deon Silas logged a carry for 5 yards, officially burning his redshirt. And Brock Purdy connected with true freshman receiver Jaylin Noel for a 27-yard catch-and-run. But Iowa State failed to convert on a third-and-10 at Clemson's 25, and Andrew Mevis missed a 43-yard field goal wide right.
11:25 Q2: Iowa State 3, Clemson 3
Iowa State's offense got cooking on its second drive.
A diving grab from Xavier Hutchinson on a 34-yard completion and a 14-yard rush from Jirehl Brock where we saw a nice burst highlighted the scoring drive. But on a third-and-goal from the 5, there seemed to be miscommunication between Brock Purdy and Chase Allen, because Allen was wide open but the pass was off and poorly timed.
Andrew Mevis knocked a 22-yard field goal through to tie it at 3-3.
2:13 Q1: Cyclones force a punt
Clemson was able to rip off a couple more chunk plays, but Iowa State's defense forced the Tigers to punt around midfield. The Cyclones' offense will try to stay on the field longer on their next possession, which will start at their 17-yard line.
Beau Freyler got a good hit on DJ Uiagaleilei on a third-down blitz, and T.J. Tampa played well in one-on-one coverage to force that punt. A lot to like from Freyler, a freshman out of Colorado, so far.
5:01 Q1: Iowa State three-and-out
That was fast.
After its defense was on the field for eight minutes of game time, Iowa State's offense went three-and-out. Jirehl Brock rushed for 3 yards and Brock Purdy found Charlie Kolar for 6 yards on second down. But Clemson swarmed Brock in the backfield on his third-and-1 rush attempt.
Clemson will take over at its 26-yard line.
6:52 Q1: Clemson 3, Iowa State 0
Talk about bend but don't break.
Clemson possessed the ball for just over eight minutes on the opening possession of the Cheez-It Bowl. Its main weapons — quarterback DJ Uiagaleilei running back Will Shipley, to name a couple — had their way. But the Cyclones held firm in the red zone and, helped by a Tigers false start, forced a 23-yard field goal.
Also, freshman safety Beau Freyler, starting because Isheem Young entered the transfer portal, made some big plays throughout the drive.
Iowa State vs. Clemson Cheez-It Bowl prediction
For some pregame reading, here's a prediction from Register columnist Randy Peterson.
Mike Rose not playing in Cheez-It Bowl
Iowa State confirmed shortly before the Cheez-It Bowl that senior linebacker Mike Rose will not play in the game. The news was first reported by 247Sports' Nick Osen. It was not immediately made clear by Rose opted out.
Other starters out today: Colin Newell, Isheem Young (transfer) and Breece Hall.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa State football vs. Clemson ends with 20-13 loss in Cheez-It Bowl