When Iowa State opened the season with a 38-23 win over Tulsa, they had no idea they would also play the Golden Hurricanes to end their season in the Liberty Bowl on New Year's Eve.
ISU and Tulsa also meet in the 2013 season, so that's three games against the same team in about a year. Iowa State and Tulsa, the rematch that no-one was calling for.
"It's a little weird, getting a rematch against somebody you've already played," said Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein.
"That's a lot of competition against one team," said Iowa State Head Coach Paul Rhoads.
It's not exactly Ali-Frazier, but the Cyclones are excited to step back into the ring, none the less.
"We're just real thankful that we get the opportunity to go down there again," said Iowa State wide receiver Josh Lenz. "We know it's a good bowl so we're looking forward to getting down there. "
"They're excited to be playing football in December and anxious to meet up with a great Tulsa football team once again," said Rhoads.
But the team isn't concerned with the fact that this is a rematch of a game we already saw at Jack Trice Stadium, all the team cares about is winning a bowl game. At 6-6, it will mean the difference between a losing season and a winning season.
"The bowl game is basically your whole entire season wrapped up into one game," said Klein. "You can either go into the offseason on a positive note or on a negative note."
"We've got a sour taste in our mouth after last year so it would be great to go out with a win our senior year," added Lenz.
Bottom line, it's not about the opponents, it's about Iowa State.
"At the end of the day, we're about the bowl experience for our student-athletes and for our fans, " says ISU Athletic Director Jamie Pollard. "That trumped the potential that we would have to have to have a rematch."
Iowa State and Tulsa play at 2:30 PM on December 31st on ESPN.
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