Austen Arnaud passed for two touchdowns and Alexander Robinson rushed for 120 yards and two scores while the Iowa State defense forced four turnovers by Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert.
"You get beat and you get beat and you say enough is enough. We are done with losing, we are sick of it," Iowa State running back Jeff Woody said after the Cyclones danced off the field in front of stunned Longhorns fans.
"I'm on a high. Just thinking the words, 'We beat Texas!' It's unbelievable," Woody said.
Gleeful Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads called the program's first win over Texas and first over a ranked opponent on the road since 1990 "historic."
It's so big that even Iowa Gov. Chet Culver chimed in.
"For the first time in school history, Iowa State beat powerhouse Texas, demonstrating once again that Iowa State is a program to be reckoned with," Culver said.
The Longhorns (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) have dropped consecutive home losses for the first time since 1997. Texas coach Mack Brown was visibly angry at his team one week after the Longhorns pulled out what seemed like a season-saving upset of Nebraska.
"About the time you think something can't happen it does. We stood around and got beat," Brown said. "I don't think it's talent. I think it's attitude."
Many figured that playing five of their last six games at home would be a good thing for Texas. The Longhorns had talked about redeeming themselves after a 34-12 home loss against UCLA on Sept. 25.
But just like UCLA did, the Cyclones (4-4, 2-2) jumped on Texas early and built a rally-proof lead. The Cyclones rushed for 199 yards and led 28-6 early in the fourth quarter.
"After we made a few stops early we realized, 'You know what gang? We can play,"' Rhoads said.
The Iowa State defense, riddled by Utah and Oklahoma the previous two weeks, bent for 440 total yards but kept making big plays.
Gilbert threw three interceptions, including one in the end zone in the second quarter when the game was close, and another in the fourth that killed a promising Texas drive.
Gilbert threw his first TD passes in a month, strikes to John Chiles and Malcolm Williams in the fourth quarter. But pinned on the Texas 10 with 1 minute to play, Gilbert was sacked once and threw three incompletions before the Cyclones started celebrating on Texas' field.
"It's bad for the program," Texas defensive tackle Kheeston Randall said. "They beat us today, but we just shouldn't lose to certain teams here at Texas."
The Cyclones put together long scoring drives for three of their four TDs. The first covered 80 yards and was capped by Arnaud's 18-yard pass to Darius Reynolds.
Texas missed a chance to answer when a touchdown run by Gilbert was overturned upon review. On the next play, the Longhorns were penalized for illegal motion on fourth down from the Iowa State 1, forcing them to settle for a field goal.
Iowa State went up 14-3 on Robinson's first touchdown in the second quarter Feeling primed for a knockout blow, the Cyclones recovered an onside kick but couldn't capitalize when Arnaud missed a pass that was open on a flea flicker.
In the third quarter, Texas drove to the Iowa State 5 before settling for another field goal. Iowa State made it 21-6 when Arnaud tossed a soft pass over two defenders for Josh Lenz to make a fingertip catch in the end zone.
The defense kept chipping in with turnovers and Jeremy Reeves intercepted a pass to kill a Texas drive on the Iowa State 32. Alexander's 20-yard TD run in the fourth seemed to put the game away when Texas fans started booing and heading for the exits.
Texas still had time to rally.
Gilbert started finding open receivers for big yardage. The touchdown pass to Chiles and Gilbert's 2-point conversion run cut Iowa State's lead to 28-14 with 11 minutes left.
The TD pass to Williams came with 1:59 left, but Iowa State picked up a key first down and took a minute off the clock before punting it back to Texas.
"You remember this forever," Arnaud said. "This team never lost its belief in this program."