MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- One could say that Tulsa was in a rush to win the Liberty Bowl.
Rolling up 316 yards on the ground Monday and dominating the line of scrimmage after a shaky first quarter, the Golden Hurricane won a rare bowl rematch with Iowa State, 31-17.
Trey Watts rushed 25 times for 150 yards, consistently making yards after initial contact. Ja'Terian Douglas added 76 yards on eight attempts, while 275-pound Alex Singleton plowed his way to touchdown runs of 2, 2 and 1 yards.
Singleton's 1-yard score was on a 4th-and-goal play with 1:50 left in the third quarter, upping Tulsa's lead to 28-17 and giving him 25 touchdowns for the season. Nine of the 10 plays on the 76-yard drive were runs, including a 48-yarder by Watts.
But the key play was Cleyon Laing's late-hit penalty after the Cyclones stopped a third-and-12 play six yards shy of a first down, giving the Hurricane first-and-goal at the 8.
Daniel Schwarz tacked on a 40-yard field goal with 12:49 left as Tulsa (11-3) avenged a season-opening 38-23 defeat at Iowa State while winning for the fourth time in its last five bowl games.
The Cyclones (6-7) appeared ready to make it 2-for-2 against the Hurricane in this battle of meteorological disasters, forging a 17-7 first-quarter lead behind the impressive work of freshman quarterback Sam Richardson.
Making just his second start after replacing senior Steele Jantz, Richardson was 6-of-7 for 114 yards in the opening 15 minutes, including a beautifully thrown 69-yard scoring strike to tight end Ernst Brun.
But Richardson and Iowa State bogged down totally after that, generating just three first downs in the second quarter and none in the third.
Richardson finished 10-of-21 for 130 yards before being pulled in the fourth quarter for Jantz, who couldn't spark the offense off the bench.
Tulsa quarterback Cody Green was just 11-of-23 for 93 yards, throwing a first-quarter interception that Jeremy Reeves returned 31 yards for a touchdown and a 10-0 Cyclone lead. But Green rushed for an 8-yard score on the second quarter's first play and added a 19-yard run late in the game to help burn the clock.
NOTES: Iowa State's last appearance in the Liberty Bowl was 40 years ago and members of that team, including College Football Hall of Fame coach Johnny Majors, were recognized during a break in the first quarter Monday. ... Tulsa's 24 unanswered points were the most in this bowl since Boise State did it in a wild 2004 victory over Louisville. ... The Cyclones' 17 first-quarter points tied a bowl record set by Virginia Tech (1968) and Alabama (1976), while the teams' 38 first-half points set a bowl mark.