Last weekend Baylor welcomed West Virginia to Waco and exorcised a demon that haunted them since last season when their only Big 12 loss came at the hands of the Mountaineers. The Bears are rolling along at 6-0 and have their hopes set on a third Big 12 championship in a row and a place in the College Football Playoff. Iowa State hosted TCU last weekend and jumped out to a 21-14 first quarter lead before being shut out the last three quarters of the game on their way to a 45-21 loss. This is not the start that the Cyclones had in mind and in order to keep any hope of a bowl game alive they’ll need to pull off the biggest road upset in Paul Rhoads’ tenure as Cyclone head coach.
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 24th, 11:00 CST
LOCATION: McLane Stadium (Waco, TX)
FORECAST: Raining with winds 8-10 mph, 73° F
TV: FOX / FOX Sports Go
BETTING LINE: Baylor -37, O/U 78
IOWA STATE CYCLONES 2-4 (1-2)
Iowa State’s loss to third ranked TCU last Saturday perfectly captured the promise and tumult of Paul Rhoads tenure as Iowa State head coach. The Cyclones surprised everyone when they led at the end of the first quarter. Unfortunately though, they had to play three more quarters where the Horned Frogs put on a clinic.
Every season since taking over as head coach Paul Rhoads has found a way to win at least one game that he can point to as proof that the team is headed in the right direction. Along with those big wins he’s had five losing seasons in six years and this season there haven’t been very many wins. It felt like the first quarter of the TCU game represented the last gasp of hope for Paul Rhoads as this week the Cyclones head to Waco where they’ll face a Baylor team that is mowing through its opponents. With each passing loss it’s getting harder and harder for Cyclone fans to see many, if any, wins left on their remaining schedule which should represent Rhoads’ swan song.
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR IOWA STATE
Control The Lines – Iowa State has a good defensive line that is vastly underrated at this point in the season. The defensive lines ability to control the line of scrimmage will be key in slowing down Baylor’s rushing attack. On offense Mike Warren will need clear running lanes if the Cyclones want to keep up in this game.
Run, Run, Run – The Cyclones best and most reliable offensive weapon is Mike Warren, feed him the ball. Running the ball well will also help in the clock running down. While Baylor might not care as much about time of possession a good running game that can keep the game clock moving is as good as a defensive stop against Baylor.
Take Advantage – When the Iowa State offense gets a chance to score they have to take advantage of it in the form of touchdowns. Trading field goals for touchdowns with Baylor or any team is a sure way to lose.
#2 BAYLOR BEARS 6-0 (3-0)
Baylor’s football season has started exactly the way that they planned for it to. Art Briles’ team looks like a finely tuned machine that can outscore any opponent they face, even if they haven’t had much competition at this point in the season. The Bears will be looking to get through their next two games against Iowa State and Kansas State before they hit the most crucial three game stretch of their season. The Bears will face Oklahoma at home before heading out on back to back road games at Oklahoma State and TCU. The seven FBS opponents that Baylor will have faced going into the Oklahoma game currently have a record of 17-26, their three toughest opponents currently have a record of 18-1. To say that the road will get tougher for the Bears is an understatement, in the meantime they have to remain focused on their next two opponents or their chances at a playoff spot might be lost.
KEYS TO THE GAME FOR BAYLOR
Don’t Get Complacent – Trap games happen all the time when teams don’t take their opponent seriously especially before or after a big game. In this case the win over West Virginia was sweet revenge for last seasons loss, that doesn’t mean that the Bears don’t have to show up this weekend. Just ask Oklahoma if it’s a good idea to take a week off in the Big 12.
Stay Healthy – Going out and beating Iowa State won’t win the Bears a spot in the College Football Playoff but losing a key player could cost them a shot in the long run. Baylor is a more talented team and they need to take care of business as quickly as possible. The longer the starters are in the more chances there are for catastrophic injuries.
Score Early – The Bears offense is capable of striking almost as quickly as lightning and they’ll want to do that Saturday. Baylor’s ability to build an early lead will determine how well they’ll be able to accomplish our first two key for the game.
By The Numbers
|3rd Down Con||38.46%||50.68%|
|Opp 3rd Down Con||48.35%||37.76%|
|Sacks Given Up||3.0||1.0|
|Redzone Scoring %||72.0%||89.19%|
|Field Goal %||58.3%||80.0%|
In three successive weeks the Iowa State defense will have faced the top three scoring offenses in the entire country and it’ll show in this game. Iowa State simply doesn’t have the talent on either side of the ball to keep up with Baylor. The combination of schedule and talent disparity is a recipe for a huge Baylor win in Waco.
It’s supposed to pour rain on Saturday, and the Bears offense will ensure that the rain isn’t the only thing pouring. Bears fans will be able to start their homecoming celebrations early as their football team puts this one out reach by the midway point in the second quarter.