"In seven weeks, we have not had a bad preparation week yet," coach Paul Rhoads said. "To suffer defeats like we have and keep coming back is a big credit to our players.
This win snapped an 11-game losing streak in the Big 12 for Iowa State, dating back to November 2007.
"It just felt great to get that snapped," linebacker Jesse Smith said.
Iowa State stuffed Baylor on fourth down when the Bears tried to surprise the Cyclones on fourth and short to start the second half. Iowa State went three-and-out but took a two touchdown lead on a Grant Mahoney 45-yard field goal.
"We knew it was going up the middle and we got a great push," Smith said. "It was a huge turning point in the game."
Zac Sandvig then blocked a punt on the next Baylor series to set Iowa State up in the Bears' territory. Jerome Tiller took the next series at quarterback and executed the zone-read to perfection, going 20 yards to the house to make it 24-3.
"Jerome moved us down the field fairly well," Rhoads said. "He was a little off but stepped in well." Tiller said he felt comfortable despite being called on suddenly.
"It was just like practice," Tiller said. "I felt just natural out there."
Baylor's misery just got worse as Blake Symanski got picked off by Fred Garrin, who returned the ball to the Iowa State 39. Tiller stayed in at quarterback on the next series and for the remainder of the game, as Arnaud suffered a bruised hand.
"It swelled up at half and we felt it was smart to get Jerome in there," Rhoads said.
Garrin intercepted Symanski on the last play of the third quarter as well and returned the ball to midfield. Mahoney missed a 35-yard field goal on the ensuing series, however. Symanski was picked again on the next series for the third time by Leonard Johnson. Mahoney missed another field goal but the game was all but decided at that point.
"To win the turnover battle like we did usually allows you to win the game," Rhoads said. "That may have been the best we have played in all three phases."
Both offenses got off to a bit of a slow start but Baylor was able to get on the board first. Ben Parks hit a 38-yard field goal late in the first quarter to give Baylor a 3-0 lead. That was the way it would be after a very fast moving first quarter.
Iowa State was able to bounce back though, going on a 12-play 73-yard drive that was featured some nice passes by Arnaud and was capped by an Arnaud one-yard keeper. The Cyclones followed that up with an 80-yard drive that featured more nice passing by Arnaud, who hit Derrick Catlett from four yards out to make it 14-3.
"We are maturing as a football team," Rhoads said. "That was evident throughout the game tonight."
Arnaud threw for 166 yards and a touchdown, rushing for a score as well. Alexander Robinson left the game early but still rushed for 83 yards and Tiller rushed for 74 yards and a touchdown. Marquis Hamilton had a career night, catching nine balls for 97 yards.