By Cody Soto
Baylor football will be put to the test this weekend as it faces Iowa State on Saturday evening in Ames, Iowa. The game will be the first Big 12 game played by the Bears this season, and senior quarterback Bryce Petty said it’s not going to be easy for the team.
“It is going to show us a lot of what this team is capable of,” Petty said. “This next month, three of the four games are away, and they’re not easy. The venues that we are playing at aren’t easy to win at.”
Baylor has not won a game in Jack Trice Stadium since its 23-13 win over Iowa State in 2005. In 2012, the Bears went home with a disappointing 35-21 loss in Ames.
In the game, former Baylor quarterback Nick Florence passed for 426 yards and two touchdowns, but the Baylor defense could not overcome 381 yards and five touchdowns from Cyclones’ quarterback Steele Jantz.
“I heard about it my freshman year when I redshirted, but since then Coach Briles and everyone has reminded us about what happened last time we went up there. It wasn’t a good feeling for the team,” sophomore safety Orion Stewart said. “They went up there trying to win and they didn’t come out with a [win], so this time we have to go up there and get it done.”
Originally named after the school’s mascot, Jack Trice Stadium seats approximately 56,800 fans and the south end zone is currently undergoing renovation for a second deck on that side of the stadium.
The Cyclones are currently 0-2 at home this season, including losses to North Dakota State and No. 25 Kansas State. However, head coach Art Briles said that any Big 12 venue is difficult to play in.
“I think anywhere you go in the Big 12, it’s a tough place to play, without question,” Briles said. “You just can’t have anything that keeps you from extending the drive and you can’t help the opponent in any way.”
Both teams are coming off of a bye-week and will play their first game since the weekend of Sept. 13.
“I’m glad we had a week off in between because of the length of the trip up to Buffalo, but it did give us a chance to travel as a team, get settled as a team, and understand what we’re going to be going through this weekend when we go to Ames,” Briles said.
The first Big 12 matchup will begin the Bears’ conquest for another conference championship, and that starts this weekend, senior offensive tackle Troy Baker said.
“This is a big, big game for us. It means everything, especially starting Big 12 play,” Baker said. “If we want to repeat as Big 12 Champions, we’ve got to win out and that starts this weekend. We’ve got to make them respect us, and that’s where we are this week.”
Briles and the Bears come into Saturday’s game with a 71-7 win over the Cyclones in 2013 where Petty had 343 passing yards and two touchdowns to lead the Bears to its fourth straight bowl appearance. Both teams lead 4-2 at their own stadiums with the all-time series tied at 6-6. Baylor looks to take the lead this weekend.
“Any Saturday that you go out [to play], you have a chance to win or lose. Ames is no different from any other Big 12 school,” Petty said. “I remember what that was like two years ago, so we are ready to get back up there.”
Baylor will start out Big 12 with road games in Ames and Austin before returning to McLane Stadium to face TCU on Oct. 11. “For us, it is important to focus on the little things,” Petty said. “The bigger the game, the smaller your focus, so that’s what we’ve got to do.”
No. 7 Baylor will face off against Iowa State at 7:20 p.m. Saturday in Ames, Iowa. The game will be broadcast live on FOX.