Iowa State trending upward ahead of visit to Baylor

Field Level Media

October 24, 2023 at 11:19 pm.

Prior to its bye last weekend, Iowa State displayed a stifling defense and added two more interceptions to its total while climbing into a tie for second place in the Big 12 Conference.

The Cyclones hope to continue their effective defense and keep pace in the league race Saturday afternoon when they visit Baylor in Waco, Texas.

Iowa State (4-3, 3-1 Big 12) begins this week tied with Texas, Oklahoma State and Kansas State and one game behind unbeaten No. 6 Oklahoma.

Since a 30-point loss to those Sooners on Sept. 30, Iowa State has earned wins over TCU and Cincinnati with the help of six interceptions. Iowa State’s 12 picks are tied with Oklahoma for the most in the league, including a pair in a 30-10 win at Cincinnati on Oct. 14.

“We’re starting to mature,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “We’re starting to play games in the style that we need to play to win football games.”

Besides seeing a defense constantly getting in the passing lanes, Iowa State is starting to see continued development from Rocco Becht. Becht threw touchdowns to Benjamin Brahmer and Stevo Klotz and also ran for a score against the Bearcats.

Baylor (3-4, 2-2) bounced back from its 39-14 home loss to Texas Tech on Oct. 7 by holding on for a 32-29 win at Cincinnati last weekend.

Isaiah Hankins made four field goals — all from at least 43 yards — while Blake Shapen threw for 316 yards behind a retooled offensive line after being sacked six times against Texas Tech.

Baylor was outscored 15-3 in the fourth quarter and nearly blew a 29-14 lead before getting two defensive stops in the final 90 seconds. The Bears also allowed 288 yards on the ground and are allowing a league-worst 199.1 rushing yards per contest.

“The run game is kind of a gut punch. I feel that pretty strong right now,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said. “For us to have success, for the rest of the time we’ve got this year, we’ve got to stop the run and do it at a better clip than any form or fashion today. That’s a challenge for us.”