Remember last week when Baylor played Rice and I said it was one of my least favorite games ever? I think the entirety of the Baylor vs. Iowa State game takes the cake in my personal stress Olympics as the Bears barely pulled out a victory over the Cyclones, 23-21. Thanks to a mostly inspiring defense and the field goal that saved the Baylor record, The Bears are 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play! Junior QB Charlie Brewer completed 26 of 45 passing attempts for 307 yards and 3 TDs and also had 13 carries for 29 yards. The Bears had one turnover and finished with 411 yards, but were extremely sloppy on penalties– collecting 7 for 75 yards.
Neither Baylor nor Iowa State scored a point in the first quarter, which was surprising considering how both team previously relied on their offensive performances. Although the first two quarters moved extremely slow due to a lack of excitement and consistency on offense, the Baylor defense was an incredible bright spot. Senior LB Jordan Williams truly showed up throughout the game– nearly intercepting an Iowa State pass on their first offensive drive before senior DE James Lockhart stalled their momentum with a QB hurry. In the second quarter, freshman DT Gabe Hall notched another QB hurry and senior LB Clay Johnston followed with a sack for a loss of 5 yards. One Iowa State drive later, Williams intercepted the Iowa State pass for his first career pick. Junior DT Bravvion Roy added a third QB hurry to the defensive stats, which gave the offense a push once they got the ball back. Brewer passed twice to sophomore WR Tyquan Thornton and senior WR Denzel Mims for 18 and 10 yards apiece before handing the ball to junior RB Trestan Ebner for 16 yards on 3 carries. Close enough to the end zone on 4th down, Brewer threw a 7-yard pass to senior WR Chris Platt who set up Mims’ subsequent 9-yard TD catch. Iowa Sate marched down the field on their next drive, but their 49-yard field goal was blocked and recovered by senior LB Blake Lynch who returned the ball to Baylor’s own 43-yard line before the clock ran out.
The Bears got the ball upon kickoff in the third quarter and junior RB John Lovett totaled 6 carries for 30 yards in the drive. Thornton caught a 6-yard pass and sophomore WR R.J. Sneed snagged a 20-yard pass before Mims added his second TD of the day on a 24-yard grab, but the extra point snap was bad and the Bears finished with only 6 points. On defense, Lockhart racked up another QB hurry and Williams and Roy combined for a sack on the following Cyclones drive. When the offense got the ball back, Brewer connected with Thornton on a 12-yard pass and then with senior RB JaMycal Hasty on a 15-yarder before rotating with Hasty on 11 and 5-yard carries per person. Sneed snagged another short pass for 9 yards and Thornton leaped into the 35-yard pass thrown perfectly from Brewer to close the third quarter at 20-0.
Baylor’s defense nearly disappeared in the fourth quarter after such a dominant first half, allowing 21 consecutive Iowa State points with only 3 minutes left in the game. Although it looked like the Bears gave up when it mattered and like the Cyclones were about to achieve a comeback victory, Brewer and co. took the field calm and collected. Brewer threw passes to Thornton, Sneed, and Hasty for 5, 4, and 1 yard before rushing the ball 10 yards. Thornton caught 15 and 5 yard passes and Mims followed with a 6-yard catch before Thornton’s 13-yarder that set up the last field goal of the game and redshirt freshman K John Mayers’ second of the game. Already missing the 37-yard field goal in the first half, Mayers was 0-1 on 3 point attempts and hadn’t touched the ball on an extra point. However, at 38 yards away, Mayer booted the ball between the uprights to put Baylor in the lead 23-21 with 21 seconds left in the game. Iowa State’s QB threw a perfect 19-yard pass, but Lockhart sacked QB Brock Purdy and after the ball came out, junior DT James Lynch recovered it and sealed Baylor’s victory!
5 Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts, including Lovett (12 carries for 52 yards), Ebner (4 carries for 16 yards), Hasty (3 for 10 yards), and redshirt freshman QB Gerry Bohanon 1 for (minus 1 yards). 6 received passes including Thornton (11 catches for 141 yards and 1 TD), Mims (6 catches for 106 yards and 2 TDs), Sneed (4 catches for 30 yards), Hasty (3 catches for 14 yards), junior WR Jared Atkinson (1 catch for 9 yards), and Platt (1 catch for 7 yards). Baylor’s defense amassed 61 tackles with 5 for a loss of 28 yards (Johnston, Williams, Roy, Lockhart, J. Lynch), 3 sacks for a loss of 25 yards (Johnston, Williams, Roy, Lockhart), 1 forced fumble (Lockhart), 1 fumble recovery (J. Lynch), 1 interception (Williams), 8 pass breakups (Johnston x2, Williams x3, senior S Henry Black, J. Lynch, sophomore CB Kalon Barnes), 1 block (J. Lynch), and 7 QB hurries (Johnston, Roy, Lockhart x2, J. Lynch, Hall x2).
Baylor will face Kansas State in Manhattan on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (CT).