Good Cop/Bad Cop: Baylor

Iowa State running back Breece Hall breaks a tackle against Kansas on Oct. 31. Hall finished with 185 yards and a touchdown in Iowa State’s 52-22 win.

Megan Teske, ; Sam Stuve

Good Cop: Megan Teske

In the past few years, Iowa State and Baylor have been competitive, with Iowa State winning the past two out of three games, and the Cyclones will add on to that this season.

Baylor has been less than stellar this year after going to the Big 12 Championship game a season ago.

As No. 17 Iowa State surges on at the top of the Big 12 standings this year, Baylor is sitting near the bottom with a 1-3 record and its only win coming against Kansas — the team at the very bottom of the conference.

The Cyclones will look to feed running back Breece Hall, who leads the Big 12 in rushing, as they go up against the second-worst rushing defense in the Big 12 in the Bears. Look for Hall to record another 100-yard game and maybe even have redshirt senior running back Kene Nwangwu get involved in the run game as well.

When the run option isn’t working, quarterback Brock Purdy will connect with wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson and tight end Charlie Kolar to keep the ball moving downfield.

On the other side of the ball, the Cyclones need to stay strong. The Bears are second worst in total offense this season, last in rushing offense and second to last in passing offense.

However, that doesn’t mean quarterback Charlie Brewer can’t get something going on a moment’s notice.

Iowa State should attack a Baylor offensive line that has given up 13 sacks and 29 tackles for loss the last three games, so Will McDonald and JaQuan Bailey, who are leading the team in sacks with 5.5 and 5.0 sacks, respectively, will look to have another big day.

As long as there are no slip-ups on special teams for Iowa State again, this game shouldn’t be as close as past games between Baylor and Iowa State.

Prediction: Iowa State 35, Baylor 20

Bad Cop: Sam Stuve

In the past two seasons, Baylor and Iowa State have been two of the better teams in the Big 12, with Iowa State finishing in the upper half of the conference and Baylor making it to the Big 12 Championship a season ago.

This season, two of the best defenses in the Big 12 face off Saturday when Baylor travels to Ames to face 17th-ranked Iowa State.

Iowa State is the Big 12’s fourth-best scoring defense, allowing its opponents to score 26 points a game, while Baylor is third-best, allowing 25.3 points per game.

On offense, Iowa State is averaging 32 points per game (fourth in the Big 12) and Baylor is averaging 26.8 points per game (eighth in the Big 12).

In the last four meetings between these two teams, the winner has won by 14 or less, including Baylor’s 23-21 win last year.

This season, Iowa State opened as a 14-point favorite over Baylor.

In Baylor’s three losses this season, it lost by less than 12 but not greater than 6.

I believe Iowa State is on a different level than Baylor and will win the game, but not by double digits.

There are two things I think will separate Iowa State from Baylor on Saturday.

The Bears are the worst rushing offense in the Big 12, averaging 92.5 rushing yards a game. Iowa State, on the other hand, leads the Big 12, averaging 200.7 rushing yards, behind Breece Hall, who is second in the NCAA (behind UTSA’s Sincere McCormick) in rushing yards with 901.

Secondly, the Cyclones are third in the Big 12 in third down conversion percentage at 42.3, while Baylor is eighth at 32.8.

On special teams, Iowa State must contain Baylor’s Trestan Ebner, who is fourth in the NCAA and first in the Big 12 in return yards with 386 and has two touchdowns.

I predict that because of a special teams touchdown and a couple of passing touchdown passes will keep Baylor in the game.

It won’t be enough as Iowa State’s defensive front and offensive rushing attack should give it the win Saturday.

Prediction: Iowa State 33, Baylor 24