Coming off of one of the worst games I’ve ever seen them play (read my many thoughts here), the Bears almost upset the No. 17 Cyclones (5-2, 5-1) in the Baylor vs. Iowa State matchup yesterday. My feelings toward Iowa State are almost identical to that of the devil’s team aka Texas (and no, I don’t say that about every team…) in that I despise Matt Campbell and the dirty way he allows his athletes to play (remember in 2018 when a Cyclone receiver literally choked Blake Lynch on the ground and then Greg Roberts and Charlie Brewer were ejected after?). Fortunately the Bears (1-4, 1-4) weren’t blown out as they were expected to be and the offense showed many bright spots we haven’t seen since the Kansas game despite going without senior RB John Lovett, junior WR Tyquan Thornton, sophomore TE Ben Sims, sophomore CB Byron Hanspard, Jr., and sophomore OL Jackson Kimble. The defense showed up as always, collecting several turnovers and turning one into points for Baylor. Senior QB Brewer completed 22 of 33 passing attempts for 295 yards with 3 TDs and 2 interceptions. He was also the Bears’ leading rusher of the day with 10 carries for 29 yards. Baylor collected 7 penalties for a loss of 65 yards while Iowa State somehow only had one for a loss of 5 yards (nothing strange there no worries!) and the Bears recorded 366 total yards.
The Cyclones got the ball to start and moved up 23 yards thanks to a Baylor offsides penalty, but QB Brock Purdy threw an interception to junior CB Kalon Barnes, which he snagged at the Baylor 11. Redshirt freshman Craig “Sqwirl” Williams ran 12 yards on 2 carries and Brewer completed a season-long 62 yard pass to senior WR Jared Atkinson before rushing for 6 yards on a QB keeper. On 3rd and 4, Brewer easily tossed a 9-yard pass to junior WR R.J. Sneed in the endzone for the first Baylor score, 7-0. Iowa State moved 61 yards from their own 25 to Baylor’s 14 before senior CB Raleigh Texada intercepted Purdy again (his second turnover of the day) at the Baylor 8 and ran it back 56 yards to the Cyclones’ 36. Brewer threw a 14-yard pass to freshman TE Drake Dabney (filling in for Sims), Williams rushed for 10 yards on 3 carries, and Dabney caught another pass, this one for 9 yards and a Baylor TD to increase the Bears lead to 14-0. The Baylor defense forced an Iowa State 3-and-out, but Brewer’s 2nd down pass was intercepted with 30 seconds left in the first quarter.
After a few plays, Iowa State turned the Bears’ turnover into points of their own, making the score 14-7. Brewer completed a 20-yard pass to Sneed and Williams ran 4 yards, but was badly injured on the play and had to leave the game (bad news for the Bears as starting RB Lovett was already injured and stayed in Waco). Brewer rushed for 4 yards and threw a 14-yard pass to redshirt freshman WR Yusuf Terry for the first down. Brewer threw 2 incomplete passes to Sneed and Terry again before nailing a 13-yarder to Sneed, but a 2-yard rush and Ebner’s run for a loss of 4 yards forced the Baylor punt. However, on Iowa State’s 3rd down, junior S/LB Jalen Pitre intercepted Purdy’s pass (that’s three if you’re still keeping score) and ran it back 30 yards for the Baylor TD, making the lead 21-7. Iowa State responded with a 42-yard field goal, 21-10, and redshirt freshman RB Qualan Jones rushed for 14 yards on 4 carries before the end of the first half.
The ball was Baylor’s during 3rd quarter kickoff and Brewer rushed for 3 yards before Jones ran 1 and an incomplete pass to Atkinson made Baylor quickly punt the ball back. Sophomore P Isaac Power sent the ball 44 yards, but the Iowa State returner dropped it and senior LS Gunnar Royer recovered for the Bears at the Cyclones’ 21. Jones and Brewer each rushed 1 yard, but Brewer threw another incomplete pass to Sneed, so sophomore K John Mayers nailed a 36-yard field goal to give the Bears a 24-10 lead. Whereas Baylor’s special teams performed fantastically during the previous drive, they allowed a 67 yard return that Purdy easily turned into a 22-yard TD, narrowing the score to 24-17. Brewer’s first pass to Terry was a loss of 2 yards and he threw 2 consecutive incompletes in less than a minute, giving the ball back to the Cyclones. Halfway through the Iowa State series, star junior LB Terrel Bernard injured his shoulder and had to leave the game for a while before the Cyclones scored and evened the game at 24-24. The Bears’ subsequent offensive drive stalled again as Brewer threw a 3-yard pass to Jones and rushed for 6 yards on 2 carries before punting the ball. In addition to the Bears’ defensive loss in Bernard, Texada got hurt during the drive and Iowa State took the lead, 31-24, with a 10-yard TD to end the third quarter.
Brewer threw a 9-yard pass to Sneed and Ebner rushed for 2 yards before Brewer was sacked for a loss of 9 yards. Jones caught a 5-yard ball after a previous incomplete pass, but Powers’ punt was blocked and recovered by Iowa State at the Baylor 11. On 2nd down, sophomore DE Brayden Utley was injured and the Cyclones notched another TD, lengthening the distance between the score, 38-24. Freshman RB Taye McWilliams ran for no gain, Brewer hit Sneed on an 18-yarder, and McWilliams dropped a pass prior to a Baylor false start. Brewer’s next pass to Terry was incomplete, but he connected with Dabney on a 9-yard catch. The Bears took a timeout on 4th and 6 at their own 42 and Brewer completed a 58-yard pass to Ebner who took it to the house and decreased the Cyclones’ lead to 38-31. Baylor’s defense held the Cylones scoreless—extra praise to senior LB William Bradley King for a QB hurry—and forced the punt with 4 minutes left in the game. Brewer completed three passes of 11, 4, and 8 yards to Ebner, sophomore WR Gavin Holmes, and Terry, respectively, before throwing an incomplete pass and running 16 yards. He threw a 5-yarder to Jones, completed a 24-yard pass to Sneed on an insane catch, and hit Ebner for 3 yards, but on 2nd and 7 at the Cyclones’ 14, Brewer threw an interception in the endzone, sealing the game at 38-31 Iowa State.
5 Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts including Brewer (10 carries for 29 yards), Williams (8 carries for 28 yards), Jones (6 carries for 16 yards), McWilliams (1 carry for 0 yards), and Ebner (2 carries for a loss of 2 yards). 7 received passes including Sneed (6 catches for 93 yards and 1 TD), Ebner (3 catches for 72 yards and 1 TD), Atkinson (1 catch for 72 yards), Dabney (3 catches for 32 yards and 1 TD), Terry (3 catches for 20 yards), Jones (4 catches for 13 yards), and Holmes (2 catches for 3 yards). Baylor’s defense showed off this week, amassing 63 tackles with 6 for a loss of 13 yards (Bernard, junior S JT Woods, Pitre, junior LB Ashton Logan, sophomore DE TJ Franklin, sophomore CB Mark Milton, redshirt freshman LB Matt Jones), 1 fumble recovery (Royer), 3 interceptions returned 86 yards (Texada for 56, Pitre for 30 and 1 TD, Barnes), 3 pass breakups (Texada, Barnes, Bradley-King), and 1 QB hurry (Bradley-King).
Baylor will face Texas Tech (2-5, 1-5) at 3 p.m in Lubbock on Saturday.