AMES - The flag, emboldened with the Iowa State logo, waved above the mass of singing celebrators, demanding to be noticed.
Just like the football team that plays under it.
Cyclones football is officially on the map.
Iowa State defeated No. 2 Oklahoma State in double overtime, 37-31, on Senior Night inside Jack Trice Stadium to derail the Cowboys' perfect season and notch the biggest win in program history.
"We've got a blue collar football team. We got a group of young men that put their hard hats on every day and continue to go to work," said ISU head coach Paul Rhoads, whose team earned bowl eligibility with the win.
"They played with the passion and enthusiasm that has become our tradition."
T-R PHOTO BY MARK PAWLAK
Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein (47) and Leonard Johnson (hidden) celebrate the interception by teammate Ter’Ran Benton (22) on the first play of the second overtime as Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden, far right, walks off the field prior to the end of Friday’s Big 12 Conference football game in Ames.
Jeff Woody's 4-yard run into the end zone after Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1) came up empty on its possession in the second OT sent the 52,027 fans in attendance out of their seats and on to the field.
"It's the best crowd I've ever been trapped in," said Woody.
Iowa State scored on its first play of the extra frame, but were matched by the Cowboys on a 6-yard pass from Brandon Weeden to Josh Cooper.
But then Weeden's pass to All-American Justin Blackmon was tipped by Jake Knott and corralled by Ter'Ran Benton to give ISU the ball needing just 3 points to win in the second extra period.
Three plays later, Woody barreled into the end zone to give ISU its first win against a top five team.
"Senior night. Friday night, ESPN (televised), only show in town. Never beat a top five team in Iowa State's history. Win number 6 goes bowling. ESPN's online blog gave us a 12 percent chance of making a bowl," Woody rattled off. "All those factors combined together, it combines it to the perfect storm."
In addition to ending the Cowboys' shot at a BCS title game, the win locks up bowl eligibility for the second time in Rhoads' three years at the helm, a three years that already featured defining wins against Texas, Nebraska and Iowa.
"(People) try to rank them and place them here place them there and put them on a pedestal," said Rhoads. "We needed six to get to a bowl game. This was six."
Still, the magnitude couldn't be ignored.
"It's another historic victory for Iowa State," said Rhoads.
The Cowboys had not scored fewer than 30 points in a game on the season and had only been held under 40 on three occasions. OSU was the country's second-ranked scoring offense with 51.7 points-per-game.
"Part of the thing that needed to happen in this game, they needed to do some things poorly, they needed to suffer some adversity," Rhoads said.
Weeden, considered by many as the Heisman front-runner, completed 72 percent of his 58 throws, but had a trio of interceptions to go with his three touchdown tosses.
Oklahoma State, ranked first in the nation in turnover margin, also fumbled the ball away twice to keep the Cyclones' upset chance viable.
"That needed to happen for us to stick around and win this football game," said Rhoads.
Cooper made 13 catches for 128 yards and a score while Blackmon added 10 and 99 with a TD.
Iowa State looked like it would be haunted by missing early opportunities.
Oklahoma State went three-and-out on its first possession and then turned it over on its next two possessions on a Joseph Randle fumble and Weeden interception.
Not only did Iowa State fail to turn those turnovers into points, the Cyclones fell behind when Barnett was intercepted by Shaun Lewis, who rumbled 70 yards for the touchdown.
The Cyclones found the end zone at the end of a 72-yard drive when Darius Reynolds made a nifty grab on a fade route.
Blackmon, a likely high NFL draft pick, one-upped Reynolds on OSU's ensuing drive by leaping over cornerback Leonard Johnson and then running past the goal line for a 27-yard strike that put the Cowboys up 10 going into halftime.
The Cowboys looked to have wrestled away all momentum when they marched easily down the field for a score on the second half's opening possession, but ISU countered with a touchdown drive of its own and then a field goal later in the quarter to cut the deficit to a single score.
Quinn Sharp missed a 37-yard field goal early in the frame to leave the margin idle, and then Jared Barnett marched the Cyclones 89 yards to paydirt, finding a diving Gary in the back of the end zone to force overtime.
Barnett threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns as he battled through a pair of costly picks.
After Weeden's interception in overtime, the Cyclones handed off to the sure-handed Woody, who, with two hands firmly wrapped around the pigskin, plowed straight ahead three times before plunging past the goal line.
"Once you get in the end zone, you realize the significance of what just happened," said Woody.
Oklahoma State played the game with heavy hearts after hearing of the deaths of women's basketball coaches Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna on Thursday night. The two were on a recruiting trip and died as the result of a plane crash in Arkansas.