Baylor holds off Cyclones
AMES (AP) — A tough loss two weeks ago prepared No. 17 Baylor for Saturday’s Big 12 opener at Iowa State.
After a double-overtime defeat at BYU, Bears quarterback Blake Shapen was ready for a rowdy Jack Trice Stadium crowd and was the catalyst for a 31-24 victory over the Cyclones.
“We struggled a little bit at BYU, with the noise and things like that,” Shapen said after throwing for 238 yards and three touchdowns against Iowa State. “People look at that and don’t give it too much credit at times, but it’s always a big win when you go on the road in conference.”
The loss snapped the Iowa State’s 11-game home winning streak against Big 12 rivals.
“I know it’s a tough place to play,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said. “It’s just a difficult place. They never beat themselves. You have to win it.”
Shapen completed 19 of his 26 passes, connecting with 11 receivers. Gavin Holmes finished with three catches for 92 yards, including a 38-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“We were never able to control the momentum of the football game early on,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “We needed to be better.”
The Bears (3-1) seized control midway through the third quarter, driving 93 yards in 10 plays and taking a 24-14 lead on Richard Reese’s 19-yard touchdown run.
Iowa State (3-1) was undone by two interceptions and averaging just 2.4 yards per rush.
“Today was a great example of complementary football,” Bears linebacker Bryson Jackson said.
The Cyclones scored 10 points in the final 7 1/2 minutes, but their onside kick with 55 seconds remaining was recovered by the Bears.
Baylor scored on each of its first three possessions, building a 17-7 lead in the second quarter.
“It always felt like we were fighting from behind,” Campbell said. “What I love about (our team) is they kept playing and they kept fighting and they kept competing.”
Two of the drives ended with touchdown passes from Shapen. His success came partly from deep throw opportunities that exposed Iowa State’s secondary.
“When they’re giving it to us and we’re able to take advantage, it really opens up the offense,” Shapen said.
Iowa State cut the margin to 17-14 by halftime when Hunter Dekkers threw a 24-yard scoring toss to Dimitri Stanley.
But the Bears held firm, drawing from their experience at BYU.
“BYU was definitely a learning lesson,” Baylor linebacker Bryson Jackson said. “It definitely prepared us for today. We didn’t beat ourselves.”
The Bears finished with more than a 9-minute edge in time of possession.
Baylor: The Bears found success against a solid Iowa State defense. The Cyclones topped the Big 12 through three nonconference games by allowing an average of 234.3 yards — including holding their last two opponents under the 300-yard mark.
The Bears netted 273 yards through the first three quarters and covered 68 or more yards on four of their first six full possessions. They finished with 361 total yards.
Iowa State: Dekkers threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns, but Baylor had him under pressure. He was sacked four times, twice by Jackson.
No. 17 Baylor should continue to rebound in the Top 25. The Bears began the season as a top-10 team, but lost at BYU on Sept. 10 in double overtime.
Baylor hosts No. 9 Oklahoma State next Saturday.
Iowa State travels to unbeaten Kansas.