Cyclones slug Baylor for chippy win
Iowa State's Big 12 game with Baylor broke the mold in a lot of ways in terms how the Cyclones go about winning.
Nonetheless, they won - 28-14 - for a fifth consecutive victory that clinched a second straight bowl trip and kept I-State in contention for a berth in the conference championship game. No. 22 Iowa State is now 5-2 in the Big 12 and 6-3 overall and will play at Texas next week. Baylor dropped to 3-4 in the league and 5-5 overall.
ISU's normally stingy defense gave up over 500 yards of offense to the visiting Bears and multiple Cyclone players lost their cool in the second of two third-quarter skirmishes that cost each team one of its best players at the time and cost BU its starting quarterback later in the game.
But thanks to some defensive stops and a pair of Baylor missed field goals, the Bears only came away with points on only two of their seven trips inside the red zone. Iowa State, meanwhile, was 5-for-5 on its red zone opportunities with three touchdowns and a pair of field goals.
In the third quarter, ISU running back David Montgomery and Baylor defensive end Greg Roberts were ejected after throwing punches at one another in a battle royale that resulted in every player on both teams being assessed with offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. A few players earlier, Montgomery had been driven out of bounds and crashed into the Iowa State Gatorade cart, resulting in a personal foul penalty against BU.
Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer was ejected from the game in the fourth quarter as he tried to rally the Bears from a two-touchdown deficit. Brewer was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty of his own - which compounded with the previous blanket penalty given to every player - resulted in him being tossed from the game.
Jalan McClendon came off the bench at QB for Baylor and twice got the Bears inside the Cyclone 20-yard line. But both times, a haggard Iowa State defense managed to come up with fourth-down stops to preserve the win.
Iowa State never trailed in the game after scoring on all of its first half possessions. But there were only three of them as both teams played ball control through the first two quarters. ISU's resulted in points; Baylor's did not. The Bears missed two short field goals and also elected to punt from the Cyclone 31-yard line on their opening drive into a stiff wind.
Deshaunte Jones' tremendous catch of a Brock Purdy pass at the back of the end zone gave I-State its first points of the game. The 11-yard dart made it 7-0 Cyclones after the Connor Assalley PAT with 1:47 to go in the first quarter.
A two-yard run by Purdy at the 9:34 mark of the second quarter moved Iowa State's lead to 14-0. Assalley connected on a 34-yard field goal into the wind with five seconds left to play in the half that made it 17-0 at the break.
Assalley punched through a 37-yard field goal with the wind with 9:38 to play in the third quarter to make it 20-0. That score came at the end of the Cyclone series that included both the skirmish on the ISU sideline and the full-on brawl that spilled across the field minutes later.
Baylor was not ready to concede on a bitterly cold afternoon and evening at Jack Trice Stadium. The Bears marched 92 yards on 15 plays on their ensuing series to close within 20-7 as Brewer threw six yards to Denzel Mims for the score. It was one of two BU drives on the day, along with its first, that chewed up over half a quarter of time off the clock.
Iowa State responded. A four-play, 57-yard drive that included a 38-yard pass from Purdy to Matt Eaton culminated with Johnnie Lang's first career TD on an eight-yard scamper. On the conversion, ISU got creative with role reversal as Jones tossed a pass to Purdy on an end around pass. ISU led, 28-7, with less than a half-minute to play in the third quarter.
But Baylor racked up nearly 200 yards in the fourth quarter alone fighting its way back into the game. The only points from all those yards, however, came on a 7-yard pass from Brewer to Pooh Stricklin with 12:25 to play in the game that made it 28-14.
I-State only had two first downs the rest of the game. But Baylor's final two possessions ended at the Cyclone 12 and 15.
Purdy completed 18-of-23 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown in moving to 4-0 at Iowa State's starting QB. Purdy was also ISU's leading rusher with 56 yards on 12 carries. Montgomery added 53 yards on 11 rushes. Jones had four receptions for 39 yards and Eaton three catches for 61 yards. Hakeem Butler, Charlie Kolar and Montgomery had three receptions each.
The Cyclones finished with 355 yards on 57 plays to average 6.2 yards per play. ISU rushed for 139 yards and had 230 passing.
Baylor piled up 505 total yards on 80 plays and dominated time of possession by nearly 10 minutes. The Bears had 359 yards passing and 146 rushing.
Linebackers Marcel Spears and Willie Harvey led Iowa State tacklers with ten and nine stops, respectively.