The second-best offense in the FBS was kept to its second least amount of points scored as Memphis dropped to Iowa State 21-20 in the Liberty Bowl Saturday.
The No. 17 Tigers (10-3) were held to the lowest scoring total since their first loss the University of Central Florida on Sept. 30. Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson managed to throw for 286 passing yards and two touchdowns, but could not help his team keep up with Iowa State (8-5).
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Kyle Kempt just had the slightly better game throwing the ball for the Cyclones. The quarterback threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.
But he did have some luck on his side, including his team’s third score. With 4:28 left in the third quarter, Kempt threw a pass that was tipped in the front of the endzone, but popped right into the hands of wide receiver Allen Lazard to give his team a 21-14 lead.
This was not a game for rush plays for either team. The Cyclones were held to a grand total of 36 rushing yards as a team, while Memphis was held to 52 total rush yards
Ferguson was charged with -18 yards of rushing for the Tigers, but running back Patrick Taylor Jr. ran for a team-leading 68 yards.
No running back had over 100 yards for the whole game, despite Memphis and Iowa State rushing 42 and 26 times respectively.
Iowa State’s biggest yardage loss came when punter Colin Downing fumbled a snap for -21 yards with 6:23 left on the first quarter. That later led to a 10-yard touchdown pass by Ferguson to wide receiver Anthony Miller.
Memphis fell to 5-6 all-time in bowl games and now has lost two straight. They finish the season with two straight losses, including a American Athletic Conference championship game loss to the University of Central Florida.
Iowa State breaks a two-game bowl losing streak with the win and now sit at 4-9 all-time in bowls. They went 2-3 over their last five games.