AMES, Iowa - This was supposed to be so easy for Oklahoma State.
The second-ranked Cowboys came into Ames set to cruise past overmatched Iowa State, and set up a showdown with rival Oklahoma at home. With a spot in the BCS title game spot on the line.
Then Oklahoma State let the upstart Cyclones hang around just long enough to likely end those national title hopes.
Backup running back Jeff Woody scored on a 4-yard run in the second overtime and Iowa State stunned second-ranked Oklahoma State 37-31 on Friday night, opening the door for a couple of one-loss teams.
The Cyclones (6-4, 3-4 Big 12) overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the Cowboys (10-1, 7-1 Big 12), opening a path for the Oregon or Alabama to face LSU in a rematch for the title.
"This one stings. This one's tough," said Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, who threw three interceptions.
None of those stung more than his first pass in the second overtime, which was intercepted by Ter'Ran Benton. Woody ran for 6 and 15 yards, then bullied his way into the end zone to give the Cyclones their first victory over a top-five opponent in school history.
Weeden threw for 476 yards, but the Cowboys' offense turned it over five times.
"I hate it for the guys. But it's real simple. If you lose the turnover battle in such a big fashion, it's extremely hard to win a game, especially on the road," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Playing a day after Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and three others were killed in a plane crash, the Cowboys were 27-point favorites against the upstart Cyclones.
Iowa State lost its first four Big 12 games and entered play 0-56-2 against teams ranked sixth or higher in The Associated Press poll.
Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads has had some signature wins in his three seasons in Ames — but none as big as this.
"We got a group of young men that put their hard hats on every day and just continue to go to work," Rhoads said. "I could not be prouder of the effort they put out tonight."
Iowa State freshman quarterback Jared Barnett found James White for a 25-yard touchdown on the first play of extra time, but Weeden answered with a 6-yard TD pass to Josh Cooper.
Benton's interception set up a thrilling finish for the Cyclones and Rhoads, the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh when it upset No. 2 West Virginia in 2007.
Barnett finished with 376 yards passing and three TDs for Iowa State.
Oklahoma State stretched its lead to 24-7 less than 3 minutes into the second half and looked set to break it open as it usually does. Tracy Moore caught Weeden's pass in traffic and stumbled 30 yards for the touchdown.
That could have been it for Iowa State — but the Cyclones were far from finished.
Iowa State answered with a 32-yard TD run from White and Zach Guyer's 24-yard field goal made it 24-17 with 4:04 left in the third quarter.
CFT: Former Penn State signalcaller Steven Bench joined the South Florida Bulls, he announced on Twitter.
CFT: The University of Nevada is honoring longtime coach Chris Ault, who stepped down in the fall, by renaming the school's football field after him.
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Penn State football coach and 2012 National Coach of the Year shares the challenges in turning around a program shattered by scandal. Real Sports premieres Tuesday, May 21 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO.
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