AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Nick Rose kicked a 21-yard field goal with 3 seconds left, sending Texas to a wild 48-45 victory over Iowa State on Saturday night, snapping a two-game losing streak in what had been the worst start for the Longhorns in nearly 60 years.
Iowa State had tied it 45-45 with 28 seconds left on E.J. Bibbs’ second touchdown catch. Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes then threw two long passes to Jaxon Shipley and John Harris to set up Rose’s winning kick.
Texas (3-4, 2-2 Big 12) first had to see if Harris’ sideline catch would hold up under review. Once confirmed, Texas sent out Rose rather than run another play.
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Swoopes passed for 321 yards and also ran for 95 yards and a touchdown. Sam Richardson passed for 345 yards and three touchdowns for Iowa State (2-5, 0-4). The teams combined for more than 1,000 yards total offense.
Texas’ 2-4 start was its worst since 1956, the year before coach Darrell Royal took over the program and built the Longhorns into a perennial power.
The victory, while a struggle, could be a huge boost for first-year coach Charlie Strong, who had watched his team lose tough games to UCLA, Baylor and Oklahoma in recent weeks.
It will also be a huge lift for Swoopes, who made the big plays to push Texas to the win just two weeks after impatient fans were calling for him to be replaced.
Swoopes led Texas on what appeared to be the game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter, running and passing the Longhorns 75 yards in 10 plays to Malcolm Brown’s second touchdown run that put Texas up 45-38.
Iowa State responded with an impressive march right back down the field and had the game set to go into overtime when Richardson connected with Bibbs in the back of the end zone.
But with just 28 seconds left, Texas didn’t settle and unleashed Swoopes’ strong right arm to get the win. His first pass covered 39 yards to Shipley and he zipped another deep ball to Harris to the Iowa State 4.
Swoopes only became the starter after David Ash was injured and ultimately had to give up football because of recurring concussion problems. But after acknowledging he was nervous two weeks ago in a loss to Baylor, Swoopes has put up impressive games in back-to-back weeks.
And Rose, who was struggling two games ago, has made all four attempts in the last two games, including a 45-yarder in the third quarter against Iowa State.
What may be unsettling for Texas is that a defense that looked like the best in the Big 12 could be so picked apart by the Cyclones. Yet the unit still came up with two huge plays to help get the victory.
Dylan Haines, a former walk-on, returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. An interception by Duke Thomas set up another score early in the fourth quarter.
Richardson overcame the miscues and kept driving the Cyclones to responding touchdowns until the defense gave up the two long passes to set up Texas’ winning field goal.
Brown ran for 72 yards and two touchdowns for Texas. Aaron Wimberly ran for 110 yards and a touchdown for Iowa State.