With a bye week last week for both teams, this will be the 4th game of the season for both Baylor and Iowa State. The Bears are 3-0 and ranked in the Top-10. The Cyclones are just 1-2, with their lone win coming against Iowa, a 20-17 win courtesy of a winning field goal with 2 seconds left in the game. With the city of Ames all amped up for a night game against the Bears on National TV, what should Bear fans need to know about the Cyclones?
1. This is the Sam B. Richardson show. The Junior quarterback has been a much improved player over last year. He is their leading rusher and has really developed as a passer as well. His completion percentage is up to 68% compared to the last two years in the mid 50s. Richardson is spreading the ball around better this year as well, as the Cyclones brought in some talented receivers to help carry the load. While they are not an explosive offense at all (just 115th in the nation in yards per game), they have become more effective. It is a balanced attack, which sees 53% passes and 47% rushes. That of course is skewed by them trailing most of the time this year, as they would rather be a run-based offense. When they have run though, they have not been very good. Their main running back, Aaron Wimberly, is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, and the team as a whole is 3.2 yards per rush attempt. That is an awful number.
2. The Cyclones are 0-2 at home, but 1-0 on the road. They have lost to Kansas State and North Dakota State, while defeating the Hawkeyes at home. Historically, Iowa State has been much tougher at home, and the Bears have not won there since 2005, a 23-13 game that was the apex of Guy Morriss' tenure at Baylor. The Bears are just 2-4 on the road against Iowa State, but 6-6 overall in the series. The last game was a 71-7 beat down by the Bears in Waco last year.
3. Iowa State has yet to give up a passing touchdown this year, but have surrendered 10 rushing touchdowns through three games. The 27.7 points per game they allow is 88th in the nation so this defense has had some issues, especially with the run. They are allowing 220 yards per game on the ground, 19th worst in the nation. They are allowing over 5 yards per carry as well. This is a team that was simply run over by North Dakota State. They were then run over mainly by QB Jake Waters against Kansas State.
4. It is another year, so the Cyclones must have found another undersized linebacker who was put on this earth to tackle people. Jevohn Miller is the new prototype linebacker for the Cyclones, of course that prototype is probably more suited for 1994 rather than 2014. At 6-foot-1, and 240 pounds, Miller is sturdy and strong at the middle linebacker spot. The other key defensive player to watch for Iowa State is Nigel Tribune, a sophomore corner back who has played quite well so far this year. The cyclones pass defense has been better than advertised this year, but that could possibly be due to teams trying to run the clock on them with the running game.
5. The Cyclones have one of the more experienced offensive lines in the Big 12, with 89 career starts on the line for Iowa State. Tom Farniok at center has 38 career starts and is the most seasoned of the group. The offensive line has struggled this year with run blocking, and have also allowed 6 sacks so far in 2014 (1 every 17.67 passing attempts). This is an experienced group, but not one that is playing great football right now.