Alex Singleton scored three rushing touchdowns and Tulsa scored the final 24 points of the game to conquer Iowa State, 31-17, in the Liberty Bowl.
Cody Green passed for 93 yards on 11-of-23 completions and scored once on the ground for the Golden Hurricane (11-3), who finished the year having won four of their last five games and tied a school record for victories in one season.
Trey Watts posted 149 yards on 25 carries and Thomas Roberson added two catches for 35 yards as Tulsa recorded its most wins in one season since going 11-3 in 2008.
The Conference USA program also avenged a 38-23 loss at Iowa State on Sept. 1.
"This group of guys has accomplished something at Tulsa that nobody else has done, so that's a huge deal for us," Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship said. "We have a very tough minded, physical, resilient team and I couldn't be prouder."
Freshman signal-caller S.B. Richardson and Steele Jantz combined for 170 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 14-of-28 efficiency for the Cyclones (6-7), who ended up losing four of their last five contests.
Ernst Brun led all receivers with 102 yards on four receptions, including a 69-yard TD catch, while Jeremy Reeves posted a 31-yard interception return for another score.
Early in the second quarter, Tulsa got within three after Green found the end zone on an 8-yard rush, and after holding Iowa State to a three-and-out, moved 59 yards in six plays and took a 21-17 lead thanks to a 2-yard scoring run from Singleton.
ISU's Edwin Arceo missed a 34-yard attempt wide right with under three minutes left in the half and the Cyclones trailed by four after failing to pick up a first down on their last possession before intermission.
Singleton finished Tulsa's third drive of the third quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run for a 28-17 advantage.
The Golden Hurricane extended that edge to 14 points on their ensuing series thanks to a 40-yard make from Daniel Schwarz five plays into the final quarter.
Tulsa held Iowa State to a punt, interception and turnover on downs over its final three possessions of the contest.
"They had three backs that could get it done. They had a lead strong toss that they brought which threw us off guard a little," Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein said. "There were a lot of missed tackles and a lot of missed assignments. Obviously, it���s a very improved offensive football team that Tulsa has. They were ready for us."
Arceo capped the opening drive of the contest with a 33-yard field goal to provide the early edge to ISU.
The Cyclones went up 10-0 after a 31-yard interception return for a score by Reeves, but Tulsa responded on the next series on a 2-yard run by Singleton to cap a 75-yard drive.
Iowa State cashed in once more three plays into the following series thanks to Richardson's dump-off to Brun, who ran the rest of the way for a 69-yard TD and 17-7 advantage with 3:46 left in the first quarter.
Tulsa has won four of its last five bowl appearances since the 2007 season, improving to 9-10 overall in bowls and 2-0 at this bowl played yearly in west Tennessee ... Iowa State had won the only two prior meetings between the schools ...The Cyclones dropped to 3-9 in bowl competition all time ... In defeat, Iowa State was held to nine first downs and 268 yards of total offense, while Tulsa made 23 first downs and racked up 410 yards.