No. 2 Baylor goes for 20th home win in a row vs Iowa State
WACO, Texas (AP) Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads didn’t need long to express the challenge of stopping second-ranked Baylor’s big-play offense.
”I would say dang-near impossible,” Rhoads said.
The Cyclones (2-4, 1-2 Big 12) on Saturday finish their trifecta of playing the nation’s top three offenses in a three-week span. Two-time defending Big 12 champion and focused Baylor is the best of the bunch by far, piling up 720 total yards and 64 points a game with FBS passing leader Seth Russell, record-setting receiver Corey Coleman and Big 12 rushing leader Shock Linwood.
”Stop the run, they’ll beat you with the pass. Try to stop the pass, they’ll beat you with the run,” Rhoads said, also using ”absurd” and ”unbelievable” when trying to put Baylor’s offensive production in perspective. ”Just a simple, outstanding scheme with tremendous personnel.”
Only halfway through the regular season for Baylor (6-0, 3-0), Coleman already has a school-record 16 touchdown catches. Russell leads the FBS in passing efficiency and with 27 TDs. He’s also a dual threat – while throwing for 380 yards and five TDs last week against West Virginia, he also ran 14 times for 160 yards and another score. Linwood averages 134 yards rushing per game.
Except none of those numbers or the countless weekly awards they are piling up really matter to the Bears, the first team left out of the initial College Football Playoff last season.
”It’s nothing really right now. It’s not until we get the national championship, and then we can look back and reminisce,” Russell said. ”We have that focus and we have that goal, and that’s win another Big 12 championship, and then have an opportunity to hopefully play for a national championship.”
Some things to know when Baylor plays its Homecoming game against Iowa State:
HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: Baylor has won an FBS-best 19 consecutive home games, the latest 62-38 last Saturday over West Virginia to get some measure of revenge against the only team that beat them in the regular season a year ago. The Bears have averaged 687 total yards and 58 points a game in its nine games at McLane Stadium since moving into the campus stadium on the banks of the Brazos River last year, winning those by an average margin of 34 points.
DOWN RIGHT OFFENSIVE: Since winning their Big 12 opener and after going without a conference victory last season, the Cyclones have been unable to slow down the other league foes among the nation’s top offenses. Texas Tech rolled up 776 total yards in a 66-31 win two weeks ago, and TCU had 621 yards in a 45-21 victory last week – after Iowa State led the Horned Frogs 21-14 with its most points in the first quarter of a game in five seasons.
BAYLOR’S BREAK: After wrapping up a five-week stretch with their third 11 a.m. game in that span, the Bears will have some extra time before playing at Kansas State on Nov. 5, a Thursday night. ”It’s kind of a bam-bam-bam deal,” coach Art Briles said. ”If we can take care of business at 11 a.m. at McLane Stadium on Saturday morning, at 3 p.m., we’ll slow down just a little bit. You have to settle before you can rise, so we’ll try to settle during that off week.”
FRESH RUNNER: Iowa State running back Mike Warren leads all FBS freshmen with 652 yards rushing, already a Cyclones record for freshmen. He has five rushes of at least 40 yards, and is the first Iowa State freshman with three 100-yard games.
TOP TACKLER: Senior linebacker and first-year starter Grant Campbell is Baylor’s leading tackler, and seventh in the Big 12, with 7.8 per game (47 total). ”Four years ago when I was playing baseball I never would’ve thought I’d be in this position at all,” Campbell said. ”It’s crazy and surreal.” Campbell initially went to CSU Bakersfield to play baseball, then transferred to Bakersfield College and played football two seasons before going Baylor.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org