MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Iowa State and Tulsa don’t necessarily think of the Liberty Bowl as a rematch, even though they faced each other Sept. 1 in the season opener for both teams.
So much has changed since Iowa State’s 38-23 victory over Tulsa that both teams feel as though they’ll be facing an entirely new opponent Monday in a game sponsored by AutoZone.
“Obviously they look like a completely different team, as do we,” Tulsa defensive end Cory Dorris said.
Tulsa (10-3) seeks its second 11-win season in school history. Iowa State (6-6) is aiming for its second winning season in the last seven years.
Iowa State’s depth chart reveals how much has changed since these teams last met.
Steele Jantz threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third score in the regular-season victory over Tulsa. He has since been replaced by Sam Richardson.
Shontrelle Johnson, who rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown against Tulsa in September, will sit out the Liberty Bowl with a knee injury. Iowa State linebacker Jake Knott, who had 11 tackles in the Sept. 1 matchup, missed the Cyclones’ last four regular-season games with a shoulder injury and also won’t play Monday.
“It isn’t the same team we had in Week One,” Iowa State running back James White said.
White, who has rushed for 469 yards on 89 carries this season, replaces Johnson as the Cyclones’ main running back. He will be joined in the backfield by Richardson, who threw seven touchdown passes without an interception and rushed for 162 yards in Iowa State’s final two regular-season games.
Richardson faces a Tulsa defense that has recorded 48 sacks and 104 tackles for loss to set school records in each category. Tulsa ranks third in the nation in sacks per game and fourth in tackles for loss per game.