Iowa State wide receiver Allen Lazard tied a Liberty Bowl record with 10 catches for 142 yards Saturday as the Cyclones capped off a turnaround season with a 21-20 road win over No. 20 Memphis at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Lazard's most important reception was one that put Iowa State (8-5) ahead for good. He grabbed a 5-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Kempt with 4:28 left in the third quarter to make it 21-17. The ball was tipped just before it reached Lazard, who came back in from out of bounds to make the tumbling catch.
The Tigers (10-3) pulled within a point on a 30-yard field goal by Riley Patterson with 2:16 left in the period, then had a chance to win it when Iowa State running back David Montgomery fumbled into the end zone on 3rd-and-goal at the 1 with 4:06 remaining in the game.
Jonathan Cook recovered the fumble, the first time this year the Cyclones lost a fumble. But Iowa State's defense stopped Memphis at its 40, blitzing quarterback Riley Ferguson on 4th-and-10 and forcing an incomplete pass with 1:52 left.
The Cyclones initiated scoring on the game's first possession. Kempt, who completed 24 of 38 passes for 314 yards, found Hakeem Butler running through the middle of a blown coverage. Butler caught a pass at the 20 and beat defenders to the end zone for a 52-yard touchdown 1:51 into the game.
Ferguson tied it at 7-7 with six minutes left in the first quarter, connecting with Anthony Miller for a 10-yard scoring strike. But Iowa State regained the lead when senior Joel Lanning, who saw action at linebacker and quarterback, ran two yards for a touchdown with 4:28 remaining in the first half.
Patterson's 34-yard field goal on the half's final play cut the Cyclones' advantage to 14-10. The Tigers jumped in front less than two minutes into the second half when Phil Mayhue took Ferguson's short pass and slalomed 36 yards through the defense for a 17-14 edge.
But Ferguson, who completed 21 of 33 passes for 286 yards, and the nation's second-highest scoring offense couldn't find the end zone again. Iowa State notched six sacks and held Memphis to 53 yards rushing.
NOTES: Memphis RB Darrell Henderson (hamstring), who led the team with 1,154 yards rushing and averaged 8.9 yards per carry, didn't play. ... Iowa State played without senior defensive backs Evrett Edwards (ineligible) and Kamari Cotton-Moya (violation of team rules). Edwards started nine games this year and notched 51 tackles, while Cotton-Moya registered 60 tackles and three interceptions in 12 games. ... Tigers WR Anthony Miller's third quarter reception enabled him to break his single-season school record for most catches in a year with 96.