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Clemson wins Cheez-It Bowl 20-13 after Iowa State QB inexplicably bats deflected pass for pick-six

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Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy delivered two of the goofiest plays of bowl season on Wednesday night as Iowa State lost the Cheez-It Bowl to Clemson

First, Purdy somehow batted a deflected pass straight into the arms of Clemson's Mario Goodrich in the third quarter. We're guessing that Purdy was attempting to get the ball down to the ground so it would be an incomplete pass, but he instead hit the ball up and forward and into Goodrich's arms.

Goodrich then ran it into the end zone for a 20-3 Clemson lead.

Purdy had the chance to legally catch or knock the ball down after it was deflected. As you can see from the GIF above, he wasn't going to make it very far if he caught the ball. So knocking it down seemed to be the safest option. But that football clearly did not go straight to the ground.

You can hear the disbelief in the voices of Clemson's radio announcers as the play unfolded live.

The flag that was thrown on the play was quickly picked up after officials realized that Purdy legally batted the ball forward since it was deflected.

Purdy's fumble ends Iowa State's chances

Iowa State then had a chance to tie the game or take the lead trailing 20-13 with less than two minutes to go. Purdy appeared to convert a fourth down on a scramble with less than a minute left but got stripped by Goodrich after he got the first down.

The ball bounced backward before Purdy recovered it. And he recovered it behind the line to gain. Forward progress isn't granted on a backward fumble, so the ball was spotted where Purdy recovered it and Clemson took over on downs in the 20-13 win.

The Cheez-It Bowl win gives Clemson its 11th consecutive 10-win season. The Tigers last failed to win at least 10 games in a season in 2010 when they were 6-7 in Dabo Swinney’s second season. 2021 was just the second season that Clemson missed the playoff since it began in 2014.

Iowa State, meanwhile, finishes a disappointing season at 7-6. The Cyclones started the season in the top 10 of the AP poll but underachieved all season. ISU played the Cheez-It Bowl without RB Breece Hall — a top-10 finisher in the Heisman voting — and linebacker Michael Rose.

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