No. 19 Clemson scored one of the craziest pick-sixes of the season that ultimately sunk Iowa State in a 20-13 Tigers victory in the Cheez-It Bowl.
Facing second-and-5 in Tigers territory in the third quarter, Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy dropped back to pass, but the ball was batted into the air by Clemson defensive end Justin Mascoll. The ball seemed ready to fall harmlessly onto the turf, but Purdy shockingly ran forward and tried to bat the ball himself.
Instead, Purdy hit the ball right into the waiting hands of cornerback Mario Goodrich, who ran it 15 yards for a touchdown to give Clemson a commanding 20-3 lead. Purdy was called for a penalty for illegally hitting the ball, but the Tigers — of course — denied and accepted the defensive touchdown.
The amazing play was just the latest in what has been a frustrating game for Iowa State’s offense against one of the nation’s top defenses. Clemson running backs Will Shipley and Kobe Pace 112 yards rushing, 91 yards receiving and a touchdown to lead the Tigers to a 20-13 victory over the Cyclones. The victory locked up an 11th consecutive 10-win season, trailing only Nick Saban’s Alabama and Bobby Bowden’s Florida State all time.