If a team goes into a game thinking they don’t have a chance, then the end result is usually a blowout. That’s exactly what Iowa State’s mindset was going into Waco last season, and the result was a 71-7 embarrassment.
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Here’s five ways the Cyclones can avoid that disaster again and potentially get a victory over the Baylor Bears.
1. Don’t let the past haunt the present.
Forget about last season in Waco. It was so historically bad that it would be nearly impossible for Baylor to repeat that, especially in Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones need to do whatever they can to cleanse the palette — listen to “Let it Go” 100 times until it gets so nauseatingly annoying you lose sense of reality. Works every time.
2. Paul Rhoads can’t outsmart Art Briles, but he can outcoach him.
Baylor’s offense is so mind-numbingly smart that you are really caught in awe when it’s chugging along on all cylinders. This is where Rhoads needs to create a distraction. If the players get caught into a lull where the Bears suck up all the momentum, he needs to get fired up on the sidelines to get his team focused.
Aug 30, 2014; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones wide receiver Dondre Daley (13) breaks through a hole against the North Dakota State Bison at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
3. Dondre Daley needs to have a statement game.
Remember Daley receiving the early headlines after the first game of the season? He’s been out of the public eye in the last two games, but with all the focus being on receivers Allen Lazard and Jarvis West, this is a great opportunity for Daley to have a sneaky good game. Iowa State has to pass efficiently on Baylor to win, and they’ll need more than just Lazard and West to produce in the receiving corps.
4. Focus on stopping Baylor’s running attack.
Essentially, have the same game plan on defense that was used against Iowa. Baylor’s backs can cut and make plays so much better than the Hawkeyes can, but Iowa State can’t let Baylor attempt 53 rushes and still average 5.5 yards per carry. Lower the average, keep them from making big plays, and that will create pressure on Baylor’s banged-up receivers.
5. Prepare for Baylor to be in four-down territory all night.
Once the Bears get past the opponent’s 40-yard line, expect them to keep the offense out there. As of right now, their field goal kicker, Chris Callahan, hasn’t made anything beyond a 23-yard attempt. Baylor could easily use third down to set up a passing play on fourth.