Scores
INSIGHT BOWL

Final

Minnesota 13

(6-7, 3-5 Big Ten)

Iowa State 14

(7-6, 3-5 Big 12)

Coverage: NFL Network

6:00 PM ET, December 31, 2009

Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ

1 2 3 4 T
MINN 3 0 10 013
ISU 0 14 0 014

Top Performers

Passing: A. Weber (MINN) - 261 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: A. Robinson (ISU) - 22 CAR, 137 YDS

Receiving: D. McKnight (MINN) - 7 REC, 124 YDS

Robinson, Arnaud power Cyclones to first winning season since 2005 

Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Iowa State made its two-win 2008 season seem like a long time ago.

With a 14-13 victory against Minnesota in the Insight Bowl on Thursday night, the Cyclones locked up their first winning season since 2005.

Then they partied on New Year's Eve with a band of followers in Sun Devil Stadium.

Fast Facts

• Austen Arnaud threw for 216 yards and a touchdown and ran for 77 yards and a touchdown as the Cyclones got their 1st bowl win since 2004.

• Iowa State finishes 7-6 after going 2-10 last season. Its five-game win improvement is tied for the third biggest turnaround among FBS teams.

• Adam Weber threw for 261 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

• Minnesota has lost four straight bowl games. It's the first time Minnesota has lost to Iowa State in its last 22 games.

-- ESPN Stats & Information

"By finishing with a winning record, you go into the offseason with a program that certainly is on its way," first-year Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "The program has credibility based on what we've done thus far."

Alexander Robinson ran for 137 yards, and Austen Arnaud threw for one touchdown and ran for another as the Cyclones (7-6) won for only the third time in 10 bowl games -- and the second in Arizona.

As for the Golden Gophers, they can't wait for next year -- and, they hope, a chance to end a four-bowl losing streak. Minnesota (6-7) made an unwanted bit of history by becoming the first three-time Insight Bowl loser.

"We came here to win the football game and we didn't get it done," Minnesota coach Tim Brewster said. "It's a great group of kids...and their hearts are broke and they're bleeding."

Minnesota's Adam Weber threw for 261 yards and a score, and Kyle Theret picked off two passes and caught a 40-yard pass on a fake punt, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Big Ten's fourth straight Insight Bowl loss to the Big 12.

The Insight pitted two 6-6 squads that needed to defeat a team from the Dakotas to become bowl-eligible. A crowd of 45,090 turned out on a 63-degree afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium, capacity 56,000, for a game that was more interesting than pretty.

The Cyclones won it the hard way.

They overcame four turnovers by Arnaud, who threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles.

"Our football team showed a lot of grit to overcome four turnovers and still be in a position to win a football game," said Rhoads, the first Iowa State coach to post a winning record in his debut season since George Veenker in 1931.

The Cyclones nearly had a fifth turnover, when Robinson fumbled on a long completion and the Golden Gophers recovered. But the officials gave the ball back to the Cyclones after a lengthy video review.

"I felt my knee go down," Robinson said. "I knew the whole time I was down."

Iowa State also conceded 434 yards and committed eight penalties.

But the Cyclones' defense twice came up with turnovers to repel the Gophers deep in Iowa State territory.

The first came with the Cyclones leading 7-3 late in the first half. Iowa State's David Sims picked off a pass in the end zone with 1:23 to go.

That led to the Cyclones' most impressive possession -- a lightning 89-yard drive in 1 minute. Arnaud hit Jake Williams for a 38-yard score after Theret fell down, leaving Williams all alone.

That gave the Cyclones a 14-3 halftime lead, and they romped off the field to the cheers of their red-and-yellow-clad faithful.

Still down 14-3 midway through the third period, the Gophers stunned the Cyclones with a brilliant trick play. On fourth-and-4 at Minnesota's 37-yard line, punter Blake Haudan hit a wide-open Theret for 40 yards -- the junior defensive back's first career reception.

One play later, Weber found tight end Nick Tow-Arnett for a 23-yard touchdown to cut Iowa State's lead to 14-10.

It was Minnesota's first offensive touchdown since Nov. 7, a span of 10 quarters.

The Gophers took advantage of another Arnaud fumble -- this one at Minnesota's 40 -- to drive 50 yards for a 21-yard field goal by Ellestad, trimming the deficit to 14-13 after three quarters.

Minnesota had trailed in all six of its regular-season wins, and four times rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to win. The Gophers seemed poised for another comeback when they marched to Iowa State's 17 late in the fourth quarter.

But backup quarterback MarQueis Gray, inserted as a running threat, fumbled on a keeper, and Iowa State's Ter'ran Benton recovered.

"We didn't lose a game because of MarQueis Gray's fumble," Brewster said. "He's hurting. He's hurting bad."

The Cyclones ran out the final 4:04, with Arnaud and Robinson each rushing for first downs.

As a full moon rose over the mountains to the east, the Cyclones raced onto the field, then hoisted the Insight Bowl trophy.

"It means a lot to us because we get to go out the right way -- on a bowl win," Iowa State senior defensive end Christopher Lyle said.

Iowa State beat its border rival for only the third time in 26 meetings -- and for the first time since 1898.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MINN
ISU
1st Downs2122
Total Yards434428
Passing312216
Rushing122212
Penalties1-98-56
3rd Down Conversions2-126-14
4th Down Conversions1-20-1
Turnovers24
Possession28:5131:09

Passing Leaders

MinnesotaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Weber18/322618.211
Iowa StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Arnaud19/262168.312

Rushing Leaders

MinnesotaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Eskridge13433.3011
Whaley11423.8012
Iowa StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Robinson221376.2030
Arnaud21763.6118

Receiving Leaders

MinnesotaRECYDSAVGTDLG
McKnight712417.7041
Tow-Arnett24723.5124
Iowa StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Williams68313.8138
Darks23819.0020

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMINNISU
FG08:31Eric Ellestad 36 Yd 30
SECOND QUARTERMINNISU
TD04:35Austen Arnaud 9 Yd Run (Grant Mahoney Kick) 37
TD00:23Jake Williams 38 Yd Pass From Austen Arnaud (Grant Mahoney Kick) 314
THIRD QUARTERMINNISU
TD05:22Nick Tow-Arnett 23 Yd Pass From Adam Weber (Eric Ellestad Kick) 1014
FG00:21Eric Ellestad 21 Yd 1314