By Tyler Alley
After their tough 36-35 loss to Kansas State, the No. 25 Bears return home to play Iowa State at 6 p.m. Saturday.
Senior receiver Kendall Wright says he is happy to be home.
“We’re ready to get back in front of the home crowd,” Wright said. “It is tough to put [Kansas State] behind us, but we have to clear it and get ready for next week.”
Iowa State (3-1) heads into Waco coming off a 37-14 loss to No. 17 Texas. The Cyclones are lead by junior quarterback Steele Jantz, who averages 229 passing yards per game and seven touchdowns.
“The thing about Iowa State is [they are] very good schematically,” head coach Art Briles said. “I really respect what they do on the offensive side of the ball. They’ve got a guy that can do it in [Steele] Jantz. He’s a big, strong kid that is fearless and they believe in him. He’s a guy that can keep the plays alive.”
The Cyclone offense will take on Baylor’s defense, which currently ranks 83rd in points allowed. The defense has shown ability to make big plays with four interceptions on the year but lacks consistency in stopping opponents, other than the shutout against Stephen F. Austin.
“I think that we just need to fully trust the team, fully trust our coaches and what positions they’re putting us in and go out do what they ask us to do to the best of our ability,” senior linebacker Elliot Coffey said.
Cyclones at Bears
Time: 6 p.m.
Site: Floyd Casey Stadium
TV: Fox Sports Network
Radio: ESPN Central Texas/Baylor-IMG College
Series: Iowa State leads, 5-4
Baylor’s offense, which is the only FBS offense averaging 300+ yards passing and 200+ yards rushing, goes up against a Cyclone defense that is 85th in points allowed but features junior linebacker Jake Knott, a preseason first-team all-Big 12 selection.
Knott is currently on the watch list for the Butkus Award for the most outstanding linebacker, the Nagurski Award for the nation’s best defensive player and the Bednarik Award for the nation’s top defensive player.
Knott is second in the Big 12 and 11th in the nation in tackles averaging 10.25 tackles per game, including 3.5 tackles for loss.
“They’re a very disciplined team,” junior quarterback Robert Griffin III said. “They listen to their coaches and they’re going to do what their coaches tell them to do. Try to discourage them a little and try to win the game. But no matter what happens, our main objective is to get the ‘W.’”
Griffin continue to strengthen his Heisman candidacy, leading the nation in completion percentage with 82.3 percent of his passes completed. He has 18 passing touchdowns and threw his first interception against Kansas State, which then led to him pointing the finger at himself for the loss.
Wright had yet another record-breaking performance with 201 receiving yards in a single game against Kansas State.
He leads all FBS Division I receivers with 155.3 receiving yards per game but still does not receive nearly as much national attention as his quarterback.
“I don’t care if they talk about me or not because I’m going to try to do what I can do to help my team win and make plays when it’s time,” Wright said. “I like being underrated. I’m not worried about any of that.”
Saturday will be the 10th meeting between Baylor and Iowa State in football. Iowa State currently leads the series 5-4. The two teams last met on Oct. 17, 2009, in Ames, Iowa, and the Cyclones defeated the Bears 24-10.
Blake Szymanski, filling in for the injured Griffin, threw for 223 yards and three interceptions in that game. The lone Baylor touchdown came in the fourth quarter with nine seconds left on a 9-yard pass from Szymanski to Justin Akers.
Though this game can be seen as an easy win by some fans, Briles is not overlooking Iowa State.
“Anytime you get [into] Big 12 play, you toss the coin up, just about,” Briles said. “It all comes down to penalties, turnovers, momentum and field position.”
The Bears and Cyclones play at 6 p.m. Saturday in Floyd Casey Stadium. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Network.