Ames, Iowa —Cyclones quarterback Hunter Dekkers threw for two touchdowns and Xavier Hutchinson caught ten passes for 123 yards and a score as Iowa State(4-5, 1-5 Big 12) beat West (3-6, 1-5) Virginia 31-14 on Saturday.
Iowa State snapped a five-game losing streak and kept alive their hopes of playing in a bowl game for the sixth straight season.
The Mountaineers managed just three total yards and no first downs after halftime before backup quarterback Garrett Greene replaced JT Daniels on WVU’s final possession of the game.
“From a second-half standpoint, I really thought we were outstanding,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “Really in all phases in the second half, that’s the best we’ve been.”
Dekkers, who finished the game 24-of-36 for 219 yards, engineered an 8-play, 94-yard drive that helped Iowa State put the game away in the fourth quarter.
Iowa State got 172 yards from its beleaguered ground game and relied on the stingiest defense in the Big 12 to defeat West Virginia 31-14 in a late Saturday afternoon Big 12 game here at MidAmerican Energy Field at Jack Trice Stadium.
The Cyclones owns the No. 1-ranked defense in the Big 12 allowing just 295 yards per game, have played lights out in the second half of games, giving up an average of just six points and 114.1 yards per game after the break.
Iowa State, which came into today’s game averaging 62 yards per game on the ground in Big 12 play, got a big chunk of its 64-yard scoring drive on the ground to take complete control of the contest. Silas got loose for a 33-yard run up the near sideline and then Norton did the rest, crossing the goal line from the 5-yard line to give the Cyclones a 24-7 lead.
“The story of our game was the inability of our offense to move the ball at all,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “The stats were putrid.”
West Virginia’s first six offensive possessions of the game netted just 49 total yards, five ending in punts and the other culminating in Anthony Johnson’s sliding interception on Daniels’ underthrown ball to Reese Smith down the far sideline.
Deon Silas gained 77 yards on just six attempts, while Cartevious Norton contributed 69 yards on 18 attempts.
Iowa State had the ball for nearly six minutes to begin the third quarter but failed to put points on the board when Gilbert hooked his 41-yard field goal that went left of the uprights. A few plays prior, Dimitry Stanley dropped Dekkers’ pass in the end zone and Jordan Jefferson sacked Dekkers for a 7-yard loss.
The game’s big moment came in the fourth quarter with WVU poised to get the football back after a three-and-out Iowa State possession. But Smith committed a personal foul attempting to block Tyler Perkins’ punt, giving the Cyclones a new set of downs at the 36 yard line.
“The roughing the punter penalty was huge. It was a 10-7 game at that point,” Brown pointed out. “We had the chance to get the ball back around midfield. I thought he got blocked into him, but we’ll see on the tape. That was the play of the game.”
Hutchinson now has a school record 87 catches this season, breaking his own mark of 83, set last year.
Overall, Iowa State outgained West Virginia 391 to 200 in total yards. The Cyclones limited the Mountaineers to 2 of 12 on third down and an average of just 4.1 yards on their 49 offensive plays.
The Cyclones were only 4 of 13 on third down but were 4 of 5 in their red-zone scoring opportunities. WVU got into the red zone once at the end of the game and scored a touchdown.
“We just haven’t played complimentary football very well this year,” Brown said. “Today we played good defense, but we played bad on offense. Last week in the first half we played really good offense, not good on defense. We haven’t been able to play both sides of the ball consistently very well.”
Iowa State receiver Xavier Hutchinson entered Saturday needing seven catches to break his school record for most catches in a season. He set the old mark of 83 catches last season and made five in the first half on Saturday. His record-tying sixth came with 13:06 left in the third quarter. Hutchinson made his seventh reception with 8 minutes left in the third.
West Virginia hosts Oklahoma at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Iowa State travels to Oklahoma State for a 2:30 p.m. game Saturday.