Here is everything you need to know ahead of the matchup between the Iowa State Cyclones and the Baylor Bears.
Saturday, October 28; 2:30 p.m. CT; McLane Stadium; Waco, TX
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network (John Walters, Eric Heft, Ryan Harklau); Radio: Baylor Sports Network (John Morris, J.J. Joe, Ricky Thompson)
Records: Iowa State (2-3); Cincinnati (3-4)
Last Week: Iowa State Bye Week; Baylor 32, Cincinnati 29
Rankings: Iowa State (NR); Baylor (NR)
Series History: Baylor leads 12-9
Last Meeting: Baylor 31, Iowa State 24 (2022)
Line: Iowa State (-2.5)
Fun Fact: In their last six meetings, each team has won three games. The last time Iowa State won in Waco was in 2017.
QB Rocco Becht
While his stats may not jump off the page to anyone, Rocco has been playing well as of late. It seems like he is finally getting a little bit of help from his teammates to take some of the pressure off of him as well. Rocco has done a nice job of managing games and has been efficient. He makes good decisions and doesn’t turn the ball over. I thought he had his best game against Cincinnati before their bye week and I look forward to seeing him build off that performance.
DB Jeremiah Cooper
We don’t often spotlight defensive backs but when you have a guy like Jeremiah Cooper back there at safety, you always have to know where he is at. Jeremiah has a knack for finding the football and it’s quite obvious when you see how many interceptions he has this season. He leads the entire Big 12 Conference with five picks.
QB Blake Shapen
I know Baylor’s offense hasn’t been all that impressive this season, but there is a big difference between this offense with Blake Shapen and without him. We saw just how bad this offense looked without him and since he has gotten healthy, they look so much better. Blake has thrown for five touchdowns this season and has yet to throw an interception. He is going to need a big game on Saturday to take down the Cyclones.
LB Matt Jones
I wasn’t all that familiar with this redshirt senior linebacker out of Odessa, but he is making a name for himself this season. In his last four games, he has 33 tackles and is Baylor’s leader in tackles for loss (9). In fact, he is fourth in the entire Big 12 Conference in that category.
Can Iowa State stay hot? After starting the season 1-2, nobody gave this team a chance. Since then, they have won three out of their last two games in Big 12 play with their lone loss to Oklahoma. We have seen this team get better over the last few weeks and I am curious to see if that trend will continue in Waco. Baylor has the worst rush defense in the Big 12 and this could be a game where Iowa State runs the football with success. If that happens, then I really like Iowa State’s chances in this one.
If the Bears want to have any hope of making a bowl game, then this is a must-win for them. Baylor has had issues on both sides of the football this season and at some point, they must get better. I already mentioned earlier that they have the worst run defense in the conference and for them to beat Iowa State they will need to improve in that area. If they can stop the run, that will put more pressure on Iowa State’s young quarterback. As for the offense, they need to protect Blake Shapen better and have more of their playmakers step up because they are going up against a good defense.
Prediction Iowa State: 27, Baylor 24
For whatever reason, this game has been really close over the last few years. It has turned into one of those quiet rivalries that nobody really talks about much. I know Iowa State is going on the road here, but I like the momentum they are building right now, and I just don’t trust this Baylor team.