No. 17 Baylor Triumphs Over Iowa State, 31-24

Shapen triumphs over Iowa State
Photo credit: LM Otero- Associated Press

The No. 17 Baylor Football team (3-1, 1-0) opened 2022 Big 12 Conference play with a tough matchup against the Cyclones (3-1, 0-1) by triumphing over Iowa State 31-24 to earn their first victory in Ames since 2016 (remember our dearest treasure grandpa Jim Grobe?)! Ever since 2016, the Bears and Cyclones have had a weird competition that’s ended with the winner excelling by only seven points or fewer in five of the last seven games:

  • 2016 — Baylor 45-42
  • 2019 — Baylor 23-21
  • 2020 — Iowa State 38-31
  • 2021 — Baylor 31-29
  • 2022 — Baylor 31-24

And while every road game is a challenge, Boone Pickens Stadium and Jack Trice Stadium (although this season’s competition at BYU was HORRIFIC thanks to the sheer number of morm fans) have been especially difficult to play in. The Bears haven’t looked as poised and mature in each of their previous games as I’m sure the team and fans alike would’ve hoped, but they pulled themselves together early enough to secure the win over Iowa State in an exciting fashion! Sophomore QB Blake Shapen shined in the conference opener, completing 19 of 26 passing attempts for 238 yards and 3 TDs and added 7 carries for 3 yards. Baylor excelled over Iowa State on offense with 361 yards to the Cyclones’ 350 and they totaled 3 penalties for a loss of 30 yards (compared to Iowa State’s 8 for a loss of 78). The Bears somehow made it to the W category despite the refs giving two HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE touchdowns to the home team, which I’m sure was just so they’d make it out of the stadium alive. This victory was made sweeter only by witnessing yet another Matt Campbell screaming, crying, throwing up chewing gum fit!

The Bears got the ball first as Iowa State deferred to the second half and Shapen rushed for 2 yards and completed a 10-yard pass to sophomore WR Hal Presley. Iowa State compiled two major penalties with the first being a targeting call after freshman RB Richard Reese’s 4-yard run and the second an unnecessary roughness on a Shapen sack. Shapen completed a 1-yard pass to 5th year TE Ben Sims and a 4-yard pass to 5th year RB Josh Fleeks to sandwich his 4-yard rush and junior RB Craig “Sqwirl” Williams’ 2-yard gain. Reese rushed for 8 yards on 2 carries and Shapen threw a 12-yard pass to Sims in the end zone for the first Baylor TD with 5th year K John Mayers making the extra point for the Bears’ 7-0 score. Junior LB Matt Jones broke up Iowa State QB Hunter Dekkers’ pass, but the Cyclones tied the game, 7-7. Reese rushed for 4 yards on 2 carries and added a 4-yard catch, C. Williams rushed for 13 on 2 carries, and junior RB Qualm Jones gained 3 before the end of the first quarter.

Shapen opened the second quarter with a 40-yard bomb to Presley and a subsequent 3-yard pass to sophomore WR Monaray Baldwin. Reese lost 1 yard and C. Williams gained 2 to set up Mayers’ 24-yard field goal to put the Bears up 10-7. The Baylor defense quickly forced a 3-and-out on the next Iowa State drive. Shapen threw a 36-yard pass to 6th year WR Gavin Holmes and a 4-yarder to sophomore WR Seth Jones. Reese gained 7 yards on 3 carries, C. Williams rushed for 2 yards on 1 carry, and Shapen added a 2-yard run. On 3rd-and-goal, Shapen threw a 1-yard pass to 5th year LB Dillon Doyle in the end zone and Mayers’ good kick gave the Bears a 17-7 lead. Junior LB Garmon Randolph sacked Dekkers for a loss of 2 yards forcing a 3-and-out, but Baylor recorded a 3-and-out of their own on the subsequent series. With 3:39 left in the first half, the Bears allowed the Cyclones to advance 63 yards for a TD, decreasing their lead to 17-14.

The Cyclones started on offense in the third quarter, which was the Baylor defense’s showtime. On 2nd down on Iowa State’s first drive, redshirt freshman S Devin Lemear broke up Dekkers’ pass and junior S Devin Neal intercepted it. Reese lost 1 yard on the ground, Q. Jones rushed for 7, and Shapen threw two consecutive incompletions with the second on 4th down to turn the ball over on downs at the ISU 30. 6th year LB Bryson Jackson sacked Dekkers for a loss of 1 yard on 2nd down and Jackson hurried Dekkers on 3rd down to force an Iowa State punt. Reese rushed for 2 yards and Shapen threw 3 passes of 10, 18, and 17 yards to redshirt freshman WR Josh Cameron, Holmes, and junior TE Drake Dabney, respectively. C. Williams ran for 3 yards before Shapen threw Sims and 8-yard pass and Dabney a 6-yarder to set up Reese’s 19-yard run to the house. Mayers’ extra point was good, so the Bears went up 24-14 on a 93-yard drive. Jackson added another sack for a loss of 6 yards and Iowa State had to punt. Sims completed a 13-yard pass to Sims, but the Bears punted before the end of the third quarter.

Iowa State moved upfield 40 yards in their fourth quarter opening series, but on 4th-and-4, Randolph hurried Dekkers and 5th year S Christian Morgan intercepted the pass at Baylor’s own 47. Reese rushed for 18 yards on 2 carries and Shapen completed an 8-yard pass to Q. Jones before OC Jeff Grimes called a reverse flea-flicker for Shapen to throw a 38-yard pass to a wide open Holmes in the end zone. Following Mayers’ good kick, the Bears increased their lead to 31-14. Senior LB Victor Obi sacked Dekkers for a loss of 11 yards and junior DL Siaki Ika notched a QB hurry in the Iowa State drive. Sophomore CB Lorando Johnson forced a fumble right before the Cyclones RB entered the end zone, but a HIGHLY questionable overruling was issued by the refs to give Iowa State the TD. Reese rushed for 18 yards on 7 carries and C. Williams added 10 yards on 2 carries, but the Bears couldn’t get the 1st down to close the game with 2:34 left. Morgan broke up a Dekkers pass, but the Cyclones settled for a field goal to go up 31-24 and attempted an onside kick that spun enough for M. Jones to secure and end the game on the Baylor victory formation.

Four Baylor athletes saw rushing attempts including Reese (21 carries for 78 yards and 1 TD), C. Williams (10 carries for 36 yards), Q. Jones (2 carries for 10 yards), and Shapen (7 carries for 3 yards). 11 received passes including Sims (5 catches for 39 yards and 1 TD), Holmes (3 catches for 92 yards and 1 TD), Presley (2 catches for 50 yards), Dabney (2 catches for 23 yards), Cameron (1 catch for 10 yards), Q. Jones (1 catch for 8 yards), Fleeks (1 catch for 4 yards), Reese (1 catch for 4 yards), S. Jones (1 catch for 4 yards), Baldwin (1 catch for 3 yards), and Doyle (1 catch for 1 yard and 1 TD). The defense amassed 60 tackles with 8 for a loss of 29 yards (senior S Al Walcott, Randolph, Jackson, M. Jones, Johnson, Doyle, junior DL Gabe Hall, Obi), 4 sacks for a loss of 20 yards (Randolph, Jackson, Obi), 1 forced fumble (Johnson), 2 interceptions (Neal, Morgan), 3 pass break ups (M. Jones, Lemear, Morgan), and 3 QB hurries (Randolph, Jackson, Ika).

Baylor will return home to face No. 8/9 Oklahoma State (3-0, 0-0) in Waco on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (CT).