Iowa State (1-4, 0-2) gave up the dreaded number of 666 total yards against Texas Tech last week. That same defense will be taking on Baylor (5-0, 2-0), a team that averages 723.2 yards per game (which is top in the country).
Everything is in place for a blowout with the Vegas lines set at almost a five-touchdown victory for the Bears. Is there anything the Cyclones can do to stop the offensive attack?
Iowa State Cyclones at (12)Baylor Bears
Floyd Casey Stadium | Waco, Texas
KICKOFF – 6:00 PM CT | TV – ESPNU
- Broadcast information
- Five players to watch
- Five keys to victory
- ISU injury updates
- Week 8 Big 12 predictions
If Paul Rhoads was every going to pull off a miracle road victory against a ranked opponent, this would be the biggest. The offense is banged up again with Sam Richardson limping around with an aggrivated ankle injury along with recovering from a groin injury and a jammed thumb. Aaron Wimberly took the second half off against Texas Tech after suffering back and shoulder injuries that eliminated any kind of running threat for the Cyclones.
Whether they like it or not, they need to produce in this game for Iowa State to have a chance.
After five games, there’s nothing that shows that any of these backup running backs can take over a game. We don’t know how ready backup QB Grant Rohach is to even play in a game. But if Richardson can fight the pain and be able to move around, along with Wimberly being able to consistently churn the ball forward, there’s a chance the offense can put up a lot of points.
That’s a lot of hope, however, especially after the offense was anemic a week ago. If those things don’t happen, questions will rise on if the defense can put the offense in positions again despite probably giving up a ton of yards, and if there are any skillplayers that can finally step up on the offensive end that can help Richardson, Wimberly, and an offensive line that has their ups and downs.
Baylor QB Bryce Petty will have an even easier day throwing the ball everywhere if the Cyclones can’t slow down one of the Heisman favorites at running back, Lance Seastrunk. If the ISU defense has a performance like it did a week ago tackling, Seastrunk can easily get over 300 yards and a ton of touchdowns.
What to watch for
It doesn’t matter if Iowa State can control the clock — what matters is how many possessions Iowa State can eliminate. The entire team can’t afford a single turnover, and special teams will need to make plays, such as potentially hitting a couple onside kicks.
If the Cyclones’ defense shows that it can’t hold Baylor from scoring on every possession, it won’t matter if the Bears start from their own 20 yard line or ISU’s 40. The onside kick would be worth the risk, and coach Paul Rhoads knows it.
It’s going to be a road game, at night, in a very packed and loud Floyd Casey Stadium. Baylor is the Big 12’s version of Oregon, and expecting the Cyclones to even contend in this game may be a stretch.
Despite a lack of offense last week, Iowa State has been able to score points. When they get to the red zone, they do a fantastic job of getting a score and are still one of only three teams in the nation to be perfect inside the opponents’ 20.
The defense gives up a lot of yards, and they will give up well over 700 tonight. But if they can force turnovers and give Iowa State more offensive possessions, they can try to run the ball right at Baylor like Kansas State did last week.
If Iowa State wants to win, somebody outside of Aaron Wimberly must step up in the running game. Richardson must be able to step into his throws and be more accurate like he was against Tulsa and Texas. They have to play a shootout with Baylor and outscore them.
That’s unlikely to happen with how banged up both Richardson and Wimberly are. After the Bears get to a large margin, Iowa State will score some garbage points at the end to cover the spread in what could be a very long night in Waco.
BAY 56, IA ST 31 (Odds: IA ST +33, O76.5)