Tulsa to face Iowa State again in Liberty Bowl
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Monday, December 03, 2012
12/03/12 at 4:36 AM
Related Story: Liberty Bowl: Tulsa vs. Iowa State
The University of Tulsa will end the 2012 season in the same way that it began the 2012 season - matched with the Iowa State Cyclones.
It was announced on Sunday night that the Golden Hurricane, the champion of Conference USA, faces Iowa State in the Dec. 31 AutoZone Liberty Bowl at Memphis, Tenn.
And after the teams clash for a second time, they can look ahead to a third meeting. Iowa State visits TU for a nonconference contest next season.
"We're thrilled to be going to Memphis," Hurricane coach Bill Blankenship said. "I attended Tulsa's appearance in the 2005 Liberty Bowl game as a fan, and now I can't wait to go back with this team."
TU is 10-3, having recorded a 33-27 overtime victory over Central Florida in Saturday's C-USA championship game at H.A. Chapman Stadium. After a 3-0 start that included a 38-23 victory over TU and a 9-6 win at Iowa, the Cyclones stumbled to a 3-6 in Big 12 play and a 6-6 mark overall.
"We had a chance to tell our football team (about the Liberty Bowl berth) before we practiced tonight, and to say they were elated would be an understatement," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said on Sunday night.
After it was mentioned that Iowa State and TU would be meeting three times within a span of 13 months, Rhoads said, "There's reason for concern there, but it's easy to overlook that because you're playing postseason football in a great venue. A bowl game with a rich, rich history. The seventh-oldest bowl that there is.
"So, regardless of the opponent and playing twice in a year and playing them again on their home turf in 2013, we're thrilled to be bowling against a very, very good Tulsa football team."
Priced at $55 apiece, Liberty Bowl tickets are available at tulsaworld.com/tusports
For the second time in Hurricane program history, there will have been two rematches within the same season. Tulsa faced Central Florida twice this season and now gets a second shot at Iowa State. In 1929, TU faced Phillips University twice and Oklahoma City University twice.
Playing for the second time in the Liberty Bowl (having beaten Fresno State in the 2005 game), the Golden Hurricane makes the 19th bowl appearance in program history. TU has qualified for more bowl appearances in 2003-12 (eight) than it did during a span of 56 years. In 1947-2002, the Hurricane played in only six bowl games.
The Conference USA champion gets an automatic berth in the Liberty Bowl. It was expected that an opponent would be drawn from the Southeastern Conference or Big East, but Iowa State wound up as the Liberty Bowl's choice.
ESPN.com reported that Louisiana Tech officials believed that the Bulldogs were in line to get a Liberty Bowl invitation. However, when Northern Illinois secured a BCS bowl position (opposite Florida State in the Orange Bowl), Oklahoma was knocked out of the BCS picture.
There was a domino effect within the Big 12 that resulted in Iowa State dropping to Liberty Bowl availability. Louisiana Tech - with a 9-3 football team - did not get a bowl game.
"We really looked at all the options," Liberty Bowl executive director Steve Ehrhart said. "It was a testament to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl that there were so many teams interested in coming here. The pressure was, quite frankly, enormous.
"... Iowa State has not been here for 40 years. That was important to us. We took note that Iowa State set a new record this year for home attendance."
Vs. Iowa State
At Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.
2:30 p.m. Dec. 31
Radio: KRMG am740, fm102.3
Original Print Headline: Liberty Bowl
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
TU's DeAundre Brown tackles Iowa State's Steele Jantz at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa on Sept. 1, 2012. TOM GILBERT / Tulsa World