AMES, Iowa — Iowa State running back David Montgomery scored on a 2-yard run with 13 seconds left in the first quarter, it marked the first time all season that West Virginia has trailed this season.
The Mountaineers had gone 5 hours, 14 minutes and 47 seconds of game action without an opponent having more points on the scoreboard.
Montgomery racked up a career-best 189 yards rushing, his third consecutive season to surpass 100 against West Virginia.
“He’s a great back,” Mountaineers defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. “He makes you miss, and that was kind of the story of tonight.”
Pitts special-teams TD a rarity
Derrek Pitts pulled off one of the rarest plays in West Virginia history late in the second quarter.
Pitts grabbed a Kenny Bigelow blocked field goal and returned it 72 yards for a touchdown, the first field-goal return score for the Mountaineers since 1994, when Harold Kidd returned one against Pitt.
The special-teams score temporarily energized WVU but the offense couldn’t sustain it.
“If you can’t get a first down, your energy is going to go away,” coach Dana Holgorsen said. “Your defense is out there playing the whole time, your energy is eventually going to go away.”
With Toyous Avery returning from injury and Kenny Robinson sidelined for a few series by a shoulder injury, Pitts played two safety spots before ultimately leaving the game himself in the fourth quarter with a left leg injury.
After the game, the South Charleston High graduate was spotted on a training table sporting a brace on his knee.
West Virginia was penalized nine times for 103 yards and Iowa State drew 10 flags worth 95 yards.
Yet Gibson thought officials should’ve thrown at least one more flag, to negate the 19-yard scoring catch by Cyclones tight end Charlie Kolar for creating separation from safety Dravon Askew-Henry.
“Their second touchdown of the night was flat-out push-off by him and no call,” Gibson said. “But it is what it is. It would be easy to blame the officials, but we didn’t tackle, we didn’t play well, we didn’t get pressure on the quarterback, we didn’t wrap up.”
Iowa State freshman quarterback Brock Purdy overcame an interception on his second pass and improved his record to 2-0 as a starter. He finished 18-of-25 passing for 254 yards with three touchdowns.
“Everybody on the team knew about Brock, but now he’s just showing out on the big stage,” said receiver Deshaunte Jones.
Cyclones have hope
Saturday’s upset means Iowa State has beaten five ranked teams in its last 15 games.
“Tonight you envision what you hope going forward you can continue to build on,” coach Matt Campbell said. “All anybody ever wanted was something that gave them hope. And I hope our team is starting to give our fan base hope that we can get this done here for a long time.”
Morgantown native Shea Campbell made his first career start, subbing for Dylan Tonkery at Mike linebacker, and registered a 12-tackle game. … Running back Leddie Brown sat out the game while recovering from an ankle injury. Holgorsen said the freshman is expected back for the Oct. 25 matchup against Baylor.
— Allan Taylor contributed to this story