Iowa St., Tulsa meet in rematch of opener
MEMPHiS, TEnn. — Iowa State and Tulsa don’t necessarily think of the Liberty Bowl as a rematch, even though they faced each other Sept. 1 in the season opener for both.
So much has changed since Iowa State’s 3823 victory over Tulsa that both teams feel as though they’ll be facing an entirely new opponent Monday in a game sponsored by AutoZone.
“Obviously they look like a comple,tely different team, as do we,” Tulsa defensive end Cory Dorris said.
Tulsa (10-3) seeks its second 11-win season in school history. Iowa State (6-6) is aiming for its second winning season in the last seven years.
Iowa State’s depth chart reveals how much has changed since these teams last met.
Steele Jantz threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third score in the regular-season victory over Tulsa. He has since been replaced by Sam Richardson.
Shontrelle Johnson, who rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown against Tulsa in September, will sit out the Liberty Bowl with a knee injury. Iowa State linebacker Jake Knott, who had 11 tackles in the Sept. 1 matchup, missed the Cyclones’ last four regular-season games with a shoulder injury and also won’t play Monday.
“It isn’t the same team we had in week one,” Iowa State running back James White said.
White, who has rushed for 469 yards this season, replaces Johnson as the Cyclones’ main running back. He will be joined in the backfield by Richardson, who threw seven touchdown passes without an interception and rushed for 162 yards in Iowa State’s final two regular-season games.
Richardson faces a Tulsa defense that has recorded 48 sacks and 104 tackles for loss to set school records in each category.
Tulsa recorded four sacks in its loss to Iowa State, which yielded only 10 more sacks.
“The matchup with our offensive tackles and their defensive ends will be one of the pivotal matchups,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said.
Tulsa believes it has come a long way since Sept. 1, when it squandered a 16-7 lead over Iowa State.
“We had to get our bumps and bruises over with. After that, we just became a better team and corrected our mistakes,” said Tulsa linebacker DeAundre Brown.