Good Cop/Bad Cop: Baylor


Jacob Rice

Teammates Xavier Hutchinson and Deon Silas head butt in celebration against Ohio on Sept. 17

Good Cop: Payne Blazevich

After dominating Ohio in a 43-10 victory, Iowa State will enter conference play with a 3-0 record for the first time since 2012. With No. 17 Baylor coming into Ames, the Cyclones will have an opportunity to extend their hot start.

Although Baylor will provide a greater challenge than Iowa State has seen so far, the Cyclones are up to the task. Quarterback Hunter Dekkers has been on fire, and he will be capable of replicating his success against the Baylor defense.

Running back Jirehl Brock will also look to add to his already-productive first season in the starting position. The Baylor defense is physical and held BYU – previously No. 21 – to 20 points in regulation, its highest allowed total of the season so far. But, Brock showed he can make quick work of a stout defense, earning a 100-yard rushing game against Iowa.

Brock will get some assistance in the run game, with freshman Cartevious Norton available after an injury against Southeast Missouri State. Offensive lineman Jake Remsburg is also available to play following a preseason injury.

While Baylor’s methodical offensive style may be difficult to handle, Iowa State’s defense is capable of slowing down the Bears’ strong run game. The Cyclones have been on top of the run all season long, and Baylor heavily relies on its running backs to carry the load in critical situations.

BYU was able to take down the Bears, in part because the Cougars shut down Baylor’s ground attack in overtime. In situations where Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen has to throw out of necessity, he has struggled.

Iowa State will truly be challenged on both sides of the ball for the first time this season. Nevertheless, the Cyclones are in prime position to take down a ranked Baylor team at home to kick off conference play.

Prediction: Iowa State 31, Baylor 27

Bad Cop: Anthony Hanson

Iowa State’s matchups with Baylor are always a battle. If the Cyclones have had a fierce rival in the Big 12 in recent years, it’s been Baylor.

Last season, the matchup was decided in the fourth quarter after Iowa State failed to convert a two-point conversion. The 2019 and 2020 matchups between the two teams were each decided by less than a touchdown, and in 2018 Iowa State’s win included a scuffle and ejections for two players.

The Cyclones are undefeated and riding an emotional high but will need to keep a level head if they want to defeat No. 17 Baylor.

The Bears are fast offensively, and just like Iowa State, they’ve made statement wins in the non-conference schedule. Baylor beat Albany in week one by 59 points and cruised past Texas State last week 42-7.

Baylor was the media’s preseason favorite to win the Big 12 and still has a case for being the best team in the conference. The Bears started the season at No. 10 and their overtime slip-up against BYU is the only thing stopping them from still being in the top-10.

For the Cyclones to stay undefeated, they will need to play a perfect game in all three phases. Iowa State cannot expect to overcome a blocked punt, extra point or unforced turnover against this Baylor team.

Expect Saturday’s matchup to be a battle, but Hunter Dekkers will face his first loss of his career as the Cyclone starting quarterback.

Prediction: Baylor 24, Iowa State 14