Iowa State football: Does primetime matchup against Baylor benefit Cyclones?


Baylor comes to Jack Trice Stadium next Saturday to take on Iowa State. Fans remember all to well the 71-7 drubbing at the hands of the Bears in Waco last season, but here’s why the Cyclones should have more than enough confidence that they can not only compete, but even come out with a win.

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Let’s take a look back at how Iowa State has done in primetime games at Jack Trice Stadium. In the past five seasons, the Cyclones have played at least three home games in primetime (at 6:00 PM Central time or after). In fact, ISU has played exactly three home night games in each season except 2010, when they played five.

Iowa State has accumulated an 11-6 record in those contests. Four of those wins came at the beginning of the season against FCS opponents. Last season, that streak ended after losing to Northern Iowa 28-20. Western Illinois came in the third week of the season back in 2012, and easily the weakest FCS team the Cyclones have faced in quite a while.

Some night games haven’t been pretty. It’s hard to forget the smackdown they received at the hands of Utah, 68-27, in 2010. Who can forget the arctic cold night at the end of that same season that resulted in a 14-0 loss to Missouri. The Cyclones squandered the last three games of the season to finish 5-7 and miss a bowl game.

Jan 1, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Baylor Bears head coach Art Briles against the Central Florida Knights during the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

But here’s the interesting stat: In the past five seasons, Iowa State has won a Big 12 primetime home game regardless of who it was against. They defeated Baylor in 2009 and 2012 by two touchdowns in each of those games. They defeated Texas Tech, 52-38, in 2010. Of course, the best win in the team’s history was a 37-31 victory over then second-ranked Oklahoma State, who lost out on their national title hopes with that loss. In 2013, Iowa State defeated Kansas 34-0 in another arctic blast.

At their worst, Iowa State lost to then 17th-ranked Texas 37-14 back in 2011, a game marred by a huge beatdown at the hands of the Longhorns in the first half before making the final score look less worse. Other than that, they haven’t lost by more than two touchdowns to a conference opponent at home since 2009.

If history repeats itself, Iowa State is going to defeat a Big 12 team at home in conference play at night. The Cyclones have already done it twice over Baylor.

In the past five seasons, Iowa State has won a Big 12 primetime home game regardless of who it was against.

Now, let’s be fair. The last time ISU faced Baylor at home in primetime, that was just the beginning of what turned into be an offensive juggernaut at the hands of Art Briles. Iowa State felt the steamroll of the engine in what is probably their worst loss in the Paul Rhoads era at Waco last season.

But crazier things have happened. Hell, tornadoes have spawned around Jack Trice Stadium before night game kickoffs before and the Cyclones were still able to come away with a surprise victory over Colorado in 2005. Bottom line is, you never know what can happen in Jack Trice Stadium during conference play at night.

If Baylor thinks they can waltz in and put up another 70 points like they did last year, they could just as easy come out with a loss. I know, it looks impossible with how well-oiled the Baylor offensive machine is, and the Cyclones definitely walked into Waco expecting to lose last year. But we’ll break down throughout next week why Baylor isn’t unbeatable, and maybe that’ll give enough spark to fans to root for their team loudly to come away with another huge win at the Jack.