Missed field goal leaves Cyclones with 14-13 loss to Tide in Independence Bowl.
SHREVEPORT, La. - Iowa State coach Dan McCarney thought the kick was good, and so did his players.
Luckily for Alabama, the Cyclones' potential game-winning field goal floated wide right by a few inches to preserve the Crimson Tide's 14-13 victory in the Independence Bowl on Thursday night.
It capped a miserable special teams performance by Iowa State, including two missed field goals in the fourth quarter and a blocked punt that set up Alabama's go-ahead score.
"I thought it was good," McCarney said of Tony Yelk's 47-yard attempt with 38 seconds left. "The guy who has the best seat in the house said it was no good, so I have to trust his judgment."
Alabama quarterback Andrew Zow lofted a 27-yard scoring toss to Terry Jones Jr. with 4:44 left two plays after Waine Bacon blocked Yelk's punt.
"Thank God Terry Jones had long fingernails," Alabama coach Dennis Franchione said. "It seemed like that ball was in the air for about 10 minutes."
Iowa State had a chance to go ahead, driving into field-goal range in the final minute. Yelk and teammates began celebrating as his kick headed for the uprights, thinking the kick was going through. Instead, it was his third miss.
Alabama picked up its fourth straight victory despite a sputtering offense and Iowa State quarterback Seneca Wallace's 284 yards passing.
It was the Tide's record 29th bowl win, but the first since a 17-14 victory over Michigan in the 1997 Outback Bowl.
The Cyclones, playing Alabama for the first time, were trying to gain some recognition playing in back-to-back bowls for the first time in 23 years.
"Nobody's going to take away what we did this season," McCarney said. "Slowly but surely, we've garnered a lot of respect for our program. We're building a program we can be proud of."
Bacon blocked Yelk's punt on what seemed to be a slow-developing play, and Shontua Ray recovered the ball.
"We just knew we needed a big play in the game at that point in time," Bacon said. "I swam away from my blocker and the punter was right there in my face. I just put my hands up and blocked the ball."
Two plays later, Zow tossed the ball over Jones' shoulder to make up for a poor day. Zow was 11-of-19 for 119 yards with an interception, but he rushed for an 8-yard score in the first half.
Wallace, meanwhile, was 25 of 42 and constantly put the Cyclones in scoring range.
Yelk hit a 36-yarder and a 41-yarder but missed from 25 in the first half and 40 and 47 in the fourth quarter.
"I just told him to keep his head up," Wallace said. "Everybody makes mistakes."
Iowa State took over from its own 9-yard line after the Tide's final score. Wallace converted a 26-yard pass on second-and-25 to Jack Whitver and hit Lane Danielson on a 14-yarder on fourth down.
Two incompletions and a delay of game halted the drive.
The Cyclones outgained Alabama, 456 yards to 269.
"We were unable to do what we wanted to do from an offensive standpoint," Zow said. "We needed a break, and we got it with the blocked punt."
Iowa State's Ennis Haywood ran for 135 yards on 20 carries against a defense that had allowed opponents just 48 yards on their last 59 rushes.
Ahmaad Galloway led Alabama with 90 yards on 16 carries.
The Cyclones struggled to cash in on big plays in the first half, but led 10-7 at the break.
They opened the game with Wallace's 39-yard pass to Craig Campbell to Alabama's 27 but settled for Yelk's 36-yard field goal.
Iowa State made it 10-0 with Joe Woodley's 1-yard score, set up by Danielson's 33-yard reverse play.
Alabama then drove 80 yards on 10 plays, capped when Zow faked an option pitch and danced untouched into the end zone.
The Cyclones had first-and-goal from the 10 late in the half, but wound up letting Yelk try a 25-yard kick, which went wide right.