|2001 MainStay Independence Bowl|
|Date||December 27, 2001|
|MVP||QB Seneca Wallace (Iowa State)|
S Waine Bacon (Alabama)
LB Matt Word (Iowa State)
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers||Rich Waltz (Play by Play) |
Mark May (Analyst)
Heather Cox (Sideline)
The 2001 MainStay Independence Bowl, part of the 2001–02 bowl game season, took place on December 27, 2001, at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. The competing teams were the Alabama Crimson Tide, representing the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and the Iowa State Cyclones of the Big 12 Conference (Big 12). Alabama won the game, 14–13 in what was the first all-time game between the programs. It was also the first bowl game for Dennis Franchione at Alabama and the second bowl game for Dan McCarney at Iowa State.
See also: 2001 Alabama Crimson Tide football team
The 2001 Alabama squad finished the regular season with a 6–5 record in head coach Dennis Franchione's first season leading the Crimson Tide. Through eight games, the Crimson Tide were 3–5 with losses to UCLA, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee and LSU. However, Alabama was able to win their final three games against Mississippi State, Auburn and Southern Miss to finish the regular season bowl eligible with a 6–5 record.
On December 9, Alabama accepted a bid to play in the Independence Bowl for the first time in school history. There was some controversy with the selection of Alabama instead over Ole Miss, as the Rebels (which did not go to a bowl in 2001) had beaten Alabama that year and had a better record of 7–4. Presumably, Alabama was selected because it had a larger fan base and Ole Miss had just played in the Independence Bowl in 1998 and 1999. The appearance marked the 51st all-time bowl appearance for Alabama.
See also: 2001 Iowa State Cyclones football team
Iowa State finished the regular season with a 7–4 record with losses against Nebraska, Texas A&M, Kansas State and Colorado. On December 9, Iowa State accepted a bid to play in the Independence Bowl for the first time in school history. The appearance marked the sixth all-time bowl appearance for the Cyclones.
Iowa State scored first on a 36-yard Tony Yelk field goal to lead 3–0 in the first quarter. After reaching the 1-yard line on a 33-yard by Lane Danielsen to close the quarter, the Cyclones scored the game's first touchdown on a 1-yard run by Joe Woodley, for a 10–0 lead. Alabama responded later in the quarter with an 8-yard touchdown run by Andrew Zow to close the gap to 10–7. Yelk missed a 25-yard field goal with 26 seconds remaining in the quarter, to keep the score 10–7 at the half.
Third quarter scoring was limited to a 41-yard Yelk field goal to bring the Cyclones' lead to 13–7 heading into the fourth. With 5:31 remaining in the game, Waine Bacon blocked a Yelk punt and Alabama recovered at the Iowa State 29-yard line. Two plays later, Zow hit Terry Jones for a 27-yard touchdown reception, and the extra point gave the Crimson Tide a 14–13 lead.
The Cyclones drove and attempted a late field goal, which appeared to be good, but the referees ruled it no good, sealing the win for Alabama. The call was one of many that the Cyclones would have to deal with over the years including multiple apology letters from the Big 12 conference for mistaken calls that cost ISU wins. After the game, there was some question about whether or not the field goal was actually good, as it sailed directly over one of the uprights. The victory sent Alabama to a 7–5 overall record for the season.