Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming matchup between the Baylor Bears and the Iowa State Cyclones.
Saturday, September 24, 2022; 11 a.m. CT; Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
TV: ESPN2 (Tiffany Greene, Rocky Boiman, Dawn Davenport).
Radio: Baylor: ESPN Central Texas 1660 AM, 92.3 FM/Baylor Sports Network; Sirius/XM Channel 83; Iowa State: Varsity Radio Network.
Records: Baylor, 2-1; Iowa State, 3-0.
Last Week’s Games: BYU 42, Texas State 7; Iowa State 43, Ohio 10.
Rankings: Baylor: No. 17 (Associated Press FBS Top 25); Iowa State unranked
Series History: Baylor leads, 11-9.
Last Meeting: Baylor 31, Iowa State 29 (2021, Waco, Texas)
Favorite: Baylor at Iowa State (-2.5)
Fun Fact: While Baylor coach Dave Aranda is in his third season at Baylor, Iowa State coach Matt Campbell is in his seventh year at Iowa State. Campbell is now the second-longest tenured coach in the Big 12 (Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy) and the fourth-longest tenured coach in Iowa State history.
RB Richard Reese
Baylor operates with a running back by committee, but the true freshman showed that he could be the back the Bears can count on if they want to tilt those carries in a certain direction. Against Texas State he rushed for 156 yards and three touchdowns. While the Bears are still spreading out the carries, he’s now 100 yards ahead of the next back, which is Craig Williams. It will be interesting to see how much run Reese — the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Week — gets against Iowa State.
DB Al Walcott
There was a time in the Texas State game where the contest was close, but Walcott got the ball rolling on turning it into a blowout. His forced fumble of a Texas State player led to a turnover, and the Bears turned that into points. And then the Bears turned that into a 35-point blowout, Walcott is growing as a play-maker, and he now has 17 tackles and two pass break-ups.
IOWA STATE CYCLONES
WR Xavier Hutchinson
When you have a new quarterback — as Iowa State does with Hunter Dekkers — it’s good to have an experience receiver to help flatten the learning curve. Hutchinson has done that for Dekkers so far this season. Coming off setting a school record with 83 receptions last season, he already has 28 catches. He has at least eight receptions in all three games, ranks 11th nationally in receiving yards (106.3) and fifth in receiving touchdowns (five). He’s part of the reason Dekkers is fifth nationally in completion percentage.
DE Will McDonald IV
McDonald finally getting his first sack of 2022 probably isn’t great timing for the Bears, as they’ll have to find a way to slow down one of the best pass rushers in the country. That one sack was a milestone for the All-Big 12 defender. He now has 30 career sacks. He’s the fourth Big 12 player to accomplish that feat, and the first in the history of Iowa State football.
Baylor has now blown out two lesser teams and lost to a future Big 12 team (BYU) in double overtime on the road. It begs the question as to whether we know ‘who’ the Bears are just yet? Well, they’re still good defensively. They’ve allowed 43 points in three games, with the high being the 26 to BYU. Despite the significant turnover of starters, it’s clear the talent pool behind last year’s group is progressing nicely. The Bears are sticking to the run game, and Reese’s emergence could be a key marker that the unit as a whole is coming together. Quarterback Blake Shapen’s numbers are solid, but it’s also clear that he hasn’t shown his ‘best’ yet this season. That could be coming.
IOWA STATE CYCLONES
The Cyclones haven’t started a season 3-0 since 2012. If they win on Saturday, it would be their first 4-0 start since 2000. The Cyclones had plenty of uncertainty, most notably Dekkers taking over at quarterback. So far he’s cleared every test. So has the Iowa State defense, which has allowed less than 300 yards to its past two opponents (the other being Iowa). The dominating win over Ohio was a good sign. The Cyclones seem to have trouble with one of their non-conference games that isn’t Iowa. Not this year. It’s clear that Campbell has built a ‘program’ at Iowa State, and not just a team. He’s replaced players like Brock Purdy, Breece Hall and Charlie Kolar and the team keeps humming.
PREDICTION: Iowa State 27, Baylor 24
Baylor leads the series, but not by much. The Bears have had more success in Ames than most (6-4). The last three meetings have been decided by a grand total of 11 points. Iowa State has won the past two in Ames (and four of the last six). I’ll take the Cyclones by a field goal. No way this is a blowout.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.