By Daniel Hill
The Baylor Bears lead the Iowa State Cyclones 37-0 at halftime.
Baylor’s offense has racked up 461 total yards to produce four touchdowns and three field goals, while the defense has pitched a shutout against the Cyclone offense. Baylor’s defense has limited Iowa State to 74 total yards.
The prolific Baylor offense was forced to punt on the opening drive of the game, which is something spectators at Floyd Casey Stadium have not yet seen this year.
Baylor’s defense forced a three and out, and then the Bears offense found its rhythm using some trickery. Junior receiver Levi Norwood threw a 41-yard pass to sophomore receiver Jay Lee on a fly sweep pass. The creative play seemed to spark the offense and junior quarterback Bryce Petty capped off the drive with a brilliantly placed fade throw into the back corner of the end zone to junior receiver Antwan Goodley for the first touchdown of the game with 9:28 left in the first quarter. The score marked Petty’s first touchdown pass of the season from inside the red zone.
True freshman Byron Bonds forced a key fumble on Iowa State’s second play of the following drive that was recovered by senior linebacker Eddie Lackey to give the Baylor offense prime field position.
The Bears scored in two plays as Petty connected with Reese for 26 yards through the air and junior running back Lache Seastrunk took care of the rest of the scoring drive with a nonchalant 3-yard touchdown run.
Playing with a 14-0 lead, the Baylor defense held nothing back and forced another three and out from the stale Cyclones offense.
Petty threw a dime just inside the out of bounds marker to senior receiver Tevin Reese for a 39-yard gain on the next drive. Uncharacteristically, the Baylor offense bogged down in the red zone after two short runs from senior Glasco Martin and a two-yard pass to Norwood. The Bears resorted to the school’s all-time scoring leader in senior placekicker Aaron Jones to tack on three more points with a 22-yard field goal, 17-0.
Heading into the second quarter, the Cyclones were forced to punt again. On Baylor’s ensuing drive, Petty found Reese for two consecutive 11-yard gains and then Seastrunk rushed for 24 yards on the next three carries and Martin added another three yard rush before Baylor struck with the big play.
Petty found Goodley down the seam of the sideline and Goodley out-positioned the Iowa State defensive back to make an incredible diving grab to give the Bears first and goal from the three-yard line.
Once again, the Bears normally efficient red zone offense stalled. Martin carried the ball for two yards and Petty fumbled the ball before trying to rush around the end to find the goal line but Petty was stopped for a loss of three. On third and goal from the six-yard line, Petty dropped back and fired a bullet to Goodley on a slant route, but Goodley bobbled the ball and never controlled the ball in bounds. Jones converted the 21-yard field goal to give the Bears a 20-0 lead.
With Iowa State on its own 18-yard line, senior nickel back Sam Holl annihilated Cyclone junior running back Aaron Wimberly for a five-yard loss that fired up the Baylor crowd. The play was a symbol of the Bears first half dominance and Iowa State was forced to punt once more.
Petty found Norwood on a curl route and Norwood jukes his defender and found a lane on the side line for a 22-yard gain. On the next play, Seastrunk had a highlight reel run as he maneuvered his way into the open field with an array of hesitation moves and jab steps. Seastrunk cut across the grain and then bolted back out to the sideline on thrilling 48-yard run to put the ball on the two-yard line. To reward Seastrunk’s effort, the junior received the next carry and powered into the end zone to give Baylor a 27-0 lead.
After Iowa State’s fifth punt of the half, Baylor had the ball on its own 45-yard line. In a staple Baylor spread formation, Baylor ran off the receivers deep as Goodley slashed across the middle. Petty anticipated Goodley’s move and the receiver caught the ball wide open over the middle and outran the defense for a 36-yard touchdown strike.
With a commanding 34-0 lead, Baylor’s first half damage was still not done.
Iowa State punted for a sixth time and then with just seconds left in the half, Jones attempted a 51-yard field goal and drilled it through the uprights to give Baylor a 37-0 lead.
Seastrunk leads the Bears in rushing with 106 yards on 14 carries with two touchdowns.
Petty has completed 18-of-25 pass attempts for 271 yards and two touchdowns.
Petty’s favorite target in the first half was Goodley, who already has 138 yards receiving on nine catches with two touchdowns.