Baylor `bears’ brunt of ISU assault

Jeff Stell

On a day in which the ISU offense was sparkling, the Cyclone defense was just as good and the combined effort equaled a 41-0 rout of Baylor at Jack Trice Stadium Saturday.

The Cyclones came out fast, rolling to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, and never looked back. Defensively, the Cyclones stuffed the Baylor no-huddle offense, holding the Bears to 13 rushing yards on 27 carries.

The shutout is the first for the Cyclones over a conference opponent since 1978. The Bears only threat of scoring was thwarted when Cyclone linebacker Matt Word partially blocked a field goal attempt.

“We got off to a good start and maintained and sustained it,” ISU head coach Dan McCarney said. “We came up with some good stops defensively and didn’t let the tempo of their offense get to us. We are not the Baltimore Ravens defense but anytime you shut out a Big 12 opponent, that’s real hard to do.”

The victory improves the Cyclones to 3-0, (1-0 in the Big 12), heading into next weekend’s showdown at fourth ranked Nebraska. The Cyclones have now won six games in a row, dating back to last year, and 12 of their last 15.

The most impressive streak involved in Saturday’s game was turned in by ISU quarterback Seneca Wallace. Wallace completed 18 passes in a row, on his way to a 22-of-24 passing performance for 299 yards and four touchdowns.

Wallace’s completion streak broke the Big 12 record of 14 in a row held by former Colorado quarterback Koy Detmer.

“Seneca is getting better and better and he keeps coming back Monday ready to improve,” McCarney said.

Wallace went to eight different receivers during the course of the game, including a new target on each of his four touchdown passes. Lane Danielsen and Craig Campbell powered the balanced attack with five catches and a touchdown each.

“The whole offense was in a groove today, it wasn’t just Seneca,” Danielsen said. “The offensive line was protecting, the receivers were running routes and Seneca was putting it on the money every time.”

Cyclone tailback Ennis Haywood entered the game second in the nation in rushing but was held to 71 yards on 18 carries.

“They [Baylor] bring an extra guy in the box and we knew that so we had great confidence in our passing game,” McCarney said. “We had a lot of yards and points at the half through the air. We rested Ennis in the second half and got some of our other backs in there because it’s a long season.”

The Cyclone defense was faced with having to go against the Bear no-huddle offense, but made it look easy. The Bears had no rushing yards at the end of the first quarter and just three yards on 11 carries at halftime.

Word and Johnny Smith III led the Cyclones with 10 tackles, eight unassisted from Word. Linebacker Justin Eilers was in on seven tackles and intercepted a pass from Bear quarterback Josh Zachry.

“We concentrated on getting to the ball and making sure we made the tackle and we did a real good job today,” Word said.

The Bear no-huddle offense never got into a rhythum and starting quarterback Greg Cicero was benched after a sluggish first quarter. The Bears had no running game and suffered from miscommunication which led to several errors on the snap count.

“We answered some questions as a defense. We’re playing more and more guys which means we’re getting a chance to build depth,” McCarney said.

Wallace tossed a pair of touchdown passes in the first quarter and added another right before halftime. Wallace threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Danielsen to open the scoring and hit Lance Young with a 29-yard scoring toss later in the quarter.

On the Cyclones second quarter scoring drive, Wallace hit a sliding Jack Whitver in the front of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown pass.

Wallace found Campbell for a scoring pass in the third quarter and Jamaine Billups capped the scoring off with a touchdown run with 31 seconds remaining.