We are still a few weeks away from Halloween, but Baylor received quite a scare on Saturday from the Iowa State Cyclones. Trailing most of the game, often by two touchdowns, the Bears made a furious fourth quarter rally, scoring the final 17 points of the game, including the game-winning 19-yard field goal from junior kicker Chris Callahan as time expired, giving Baylor a 45-42 win in Ames.
Baylor preaches starting fast on offense. Getting the football down the field, quickly, and putting it in the end zone right away. However, despite the philosophy, the Bears have struggled to do this all year and today’s game against the upset minded Iowa State Cyclones was no different. Whether it was the 11 am kickoff or the ghosts of Jack Trice Stadium lingering in Baylor’s mind, Iowa State came ready to play, stunning the Bears repeatedly.
Through four games, Phil Bennett’s defense had showed signs of improvement and been dominant at times this year. Against Oklahoma State, although they surrendered over 400 yards of offense, the defense stepped up and made plays throughout, including getting key fourth down stops and forcing the Cowboys into costly turnovers.
However, Iowa State presented a new challenge. That challenge was redshirt junior quarterback Joel Lanning. Lanning led the Cyclones on touchdown drives on their first six possessions of the game. He consistently made the big plays for the Cyclones, often picking up first downs with his legs and moving the chains, and therefore, keeping the Baylor offense off the field.
After a 44-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior wide receiver Trever Ryen and a 2-yard touchdown run by redshirt sophomore running back Mike Warren made it 14-0 Cyclones, the Baylor offense began to settle in.
That offensive groove was in the workload of senior running back Shock Linwood and sophomore running back Terence Williams. Williams found the end zone first on seven yard run and Linwood answered with a touchdown run of his own on the Bears’ next possession.
Despite not being able to stop Linwood or Williams on the ground, the Cyclones’ offense continued to move the ball with great efficiency. After a four-yard touchdown run by redshirt sophomore running back Mike Warren, his second of the game, put the Cyclones up 42-28 heading to the fourth quarter.
With their backs up against the wall and the inability to stop Iowa State all game long to that point, the Baylor defense stepped up to force punts on all of the Cyclones’ possessions in the fourth quarter.
Baylor chipped away at the lead on a one-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Seth Russell, making it 42-35. After another booming punt that left Baylor starting inside their own 20, Linwood and Williams took over once again, with Williams punching it in from two yards out and tying the game at 42.
Iowa State, held to just seven yards in the fourth and unable to get anything going offensively, gave the ball back to Russell and the Bears for one last drive. Russell was methodical and continued to trust his own legs as well as Williams and Linwood to get the ball into range for Callahan’s game-winning field goal.
In a game that will sting the Cyclones for days and one that would have been a defining win for first year head coach Matt Campbell, there is hope for a young, developing Iowa State team.
Lanning finished the game 17 for 23, for 261 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 57 yards on 14 attempts, including several key third down conversions. Warren finished with 130 yards on 30 carries and two touchdowns as well.
In the end, Baylor made just enough plays on defense to eek out a win on the road in Ames. The Bears will also be encouraged with the rushing attack, as they ran for 469 yards. Linwood finished with 237 yards on 25 carries and a touchdown, his largest workload of the season. Williams ran for 126 yards on 16 carries and two touchdowns and Russell ran for 88 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns.
Penalties will certainly be a point of emphasis for acting head coach Jim Grobe and the Bears as they head into their bye week. Baylor committed 9 penalties for 79 yards and at times bailed out the Cyclones with these mistakes.
Baylor returns to action on October 15 as they host the Kansas the Jayhawks for homecoming at McLane Stadium. The time of the game has yet to be announced.