By Shehan Jeyarajah
Baylor just keeps on winning.
Despite concerns that Baylor would struggle on grass, or the fact that head coach Art Briles has never won in Ames, Iowa, the No. 7 Bears (4-0) dominated the Iowa State Cyclones (1-3, 0-2) to the tune of 49-28 on the road on Saturday.
“It’s tough to win on the road,” Briles said. “We did what we had to do. We’re not happy, we’re not patting each other on the back or saying we’re the best team around. We did a workman-like job tonight and took care of business in an environment that wanted to beat us.”
Senior quarterback Bryce Petty came out much more aggressive against the Cyclones than we have typically seen from the Bears on the road. In only three quarters, Petty threw for 336 yards and a touchdown.
During Baylor’s Big 12 opener in 2013 against Kansas State, the Bears played a conservative game plan early. Out of 20 offensive plays in the first quarter against KSU, 12 were rushing and only two went for more than 10 yards.
Baylor came out firing right away against ISU. The Bears threw the ball on its first seven plays from scrimmage, including seven plays of more than 10 yards in the first quarter alone. With the extra aggressiveness, Baylor was up 14-0 less than halfway through the first quarter.
“Our job is to make a point every time we come out,” Petty said. “It doesn’t matter who it is. If they’re on our schedule, it’s our job to dominate.”
Briles said that it was Baylor’s plan to have Petty throw more than normal on the road, and he would have thrown closer to 60 passes if he played the rest of the game.
Petty received a major boost from the return of sophomore wide receiver Corey Coleman and senior All-American Antwan Goodley. Coleman set a career high with 12 receptions and led the team with 154 yards and a touchdown. Goodley added 114 yards. In all, seven different receivers caught passes.
“It’s like a little kid on Christmas; I got my toys back,” Petty said. “When they’re in there, explosive plays are waiting to happen every time they touch the ball. It was great having them out there.”
Despite the early emphasis on the passing game, Baylor also dominated the running game. On 47 attempts, the Bears went for 244 yards and six total rushing touchdowns. Sophomore running back Shock Linwood finished with a hat trick, the most scores in a game he has rushed for in his time at Baylor.
Petty had the highlight run of the day in the first quarter. The senior broke through the line, and hurdled Iowa State defensive back Kamari Cotton-Moya to finish the 16-yard touchdown scamper.
Defensively, Baylor dominated the first half, but seemed to lose defensive intensity in the second half. After giving up only one first half touchdown, the Bears allowed 21 points in the second.
Iowa State quarterback Sam B. Richardson started off the second half with a breakaway 47-yard touchdown just over a minute into the third quarter, one of his three touchdowns on the day.
Despite the convincing loss, Richardson had a big performance. He finished with only 212 passing yards on 39 attempts, but found Tad Ecby for a 51-yard pass and set up another score, a one-yard run by running back Aaron Wimberly.
Outside of struggling to contain Richardson, Baylor’s defense was dominant. Iowa State had only 28 rushing yards between 20 carries from its running backs, a paltry 1.4 yards per carry.
Despite the win, Baylor stayed steady at No. 7 in the Associated Press poll and No. 6 in the Amway Coaches Poll. The Bears will prepare to play the University of Texas on Saturday. Baylor players deny this being a big game for their season.
“Putting on the green and gold is what makes it big. Being here is where I’m supposed to be, it’s where I want to be,” Petty said. “If I wanted to be somewhere else then I would be there. I take a lot of pride in putting on my Baylor colors, and I say that with a lot of pride because of what these guys do day in and day out. That’s what makes the pride come out of me is being around these guys.”
In the last matchup between these two teams, the Baylor Bears beat Texas 30-10 to win their first ever Big 12 Championship and qualify for the Fiesta Bowl.
“It’s another big away game this week,” sophomore receiver Corey Coleman said. “We’re not worrying about what has happened in the past. We’re going in with the mindset that they are good and preparing like they’re the championship team.”
No. 7 Baylor plays Texas at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Darrell K. Royal Stadium in Austin. The game will be televised on ABC.