When Iowa State (6-6) and Tulsa (10-3) take the field at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tenn. at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon, there will be a lot of pride on the line.
Tulsa is trying to avenge a 38-23 loss at Iowa State on Sept. 1 in the season opener. The two schools also will meet at Tulsa in the fourth week of the 2013 season.
A victory would give Iowa State its first winning season since 2009. The Cyclones went 5-7 in 2010 and 6-7 in 2011.
Tulsa could match a school record by earning its 11th win of the season. The Golden Hurricane went 11-3 in 2008.
Iowa State, which has never lost to Tulsa in its two previous meetings, is a one-point favorite. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Here’s everything else you need to know going into today’s big game.
Iowa State QB Sam Richardson vs. Tulsa defense. After throwing seven touchdown passes without an interception and rushing for a combined 162 yards over Iowa State’s final two regular-season games, Richardson is expected to make his second career start in the Liberty Bowl.
Richardson gave Iowa State’s offense a spark late in the season, but he will be facing a Tulsa defense that set school records in sacks (48) and tackles for loss (104) this season.
Players to Watch
Iowa State: LB A.J. Klein: This 6-foot-2 senior was the Big 12’s co-defensive player of the year in 2011 and earned first-team all-conference honors this season.
Klein has recorded 342 career tackles to rank 16th among active Football Bowl Subdivision players nationwide. He has a team-high 98 tackles this season. Klein has scored on four career interception returns.
Tulsa: RBs Trey Watts, Ja’Terian Douglas and Alex Singleton: They have each run for at least 750 yards while helping give Tulsa the nation’s 11th-ranked rushing offense.
Watts is the Golden Hurricane’s leading rusher with 959 yards on 161 carries. Douglas has run for 857 yards and seven touchdowns on 129 attempts. Singleton has run for 765 yards and 21 touchdowns on 187 carries. He has a school-record 40 career touchdown runs.
Facts & Figures
Iowa State set a school attendance record this year by averaging 55,274 fans per home game. The Cyclones sold nearly 14,000 Liberty Bowl tickets.
Iowa State SS Durrell Givens has six fumble recoveries and three interceptions this season, giving him a share of the NCAA lead in takeaways.
Singleton set a school single-season scoring record this year with 132 points. He has 21 touchdown runs and one touchdown catch.
Tulsa DE Cory Dorris has seven career blocked kicks.
Iowa State is 21-1 during Paul Rhoads’ four-year tenure when it holds teams below 24 points. The Cyclones are just 3-25 under Rhoads when they give up at least 24 points.
Watts ranks eighth in the nation in kickoff return average (29.6) and 12th in all-purpose yardage (161.8).
In the weeks leading up to Monday’s rematch, Iowa State CB Jeremy Reeves said he learned from his stepfather that he and Tulsa LB DeAundre Brown are cousins.