Iowa St. rolled into McLane stadium on Saturday as favorites against Baylor, but the Bears had other plans, coming out with a 23-21 win vs the Cyclones. Baylor’s finish preserves their already perfect record on the season at 4-0.
While Bears’ offense churned out 23 points, it was their defense that was the star of the game. Let’s take a look at a couple plays that highlight just how dominant this defense can be.
This first play shows us the Bears’ toughness. The Cyclones are on their 4th down with 1 yard to go for Iowa State. Iowa State had already driven down to Baylor’s 40-yard line, essentially putting themselves right on the edge of field goal range. Head coach Matt Campbell decides to be aggressive and pick up the extra yard. Matt Rhule, however, had other plans.
The Big 12 is known for porous defenses, but this play shows that Baylor is anything but. The defense creates an absolute wall, completely dominating the line of scrimmage. The only potential hole that the running back could have was quickly filled by #24 Jalen Pitre, forcing the offensive player into the pileup. The running back ends up well short of the first down, and Baylor is able to put the ball back in the hands of the offense.
Yes, it was only the first quarter. However, if not for the toughness the Bears showed here, Iowa State would have likely had a chance at a field goal, which would have eventually won them the game. Against a reimagined Baylor defense though, Big 12 offenses will have to become much more creative.
This second play stands as potentially the best defensive play we have seen from the Bears in a year. Stud Iowa St. QB Brock Purdy rolls out to the right looking for a receiver. Linebacker Clay Johnston (#4) quickly redirects himself to the quarterback, forcing Purdy to chuck the ball away. An astounding heads up play from one of Baylor’s best defenders.
But the truly amazing part of the play comes after the ball leaves Purdy’s hands. Linebacker Jordan Williams comes off of his coverage just in time to snag the ball for an interception. Here’s another angle of the play:
Knowing he has to get a foot in bounds, Williams plants one foot and drags the other, ensuring Baylor the interception. The focus and body control are outstanding with this catch, and the whole series of events showcases the Bears’ newfound confidence on the defensive end of the field.
As of right now, the Bears are tied with Oklahoma for the best record, 4-0, in the entire conference. Only time will tell if they can keep their undefeated season alive next Saturday against Kansas State. Go Bears!