Baylor’s speed poses threat to undefeated start


Jacob Rice

O’Rien Vance jars the ball loose against Ohio on Sept. 17.

Andrew Harrington, Sports Editor

The Cyclones escaped a trio of non-conference games unscathed, but a bigger challenge awaits, as Iowa State is set to take on No. 17 Baylor.

Baylor is the defending Big 12 Champion, so it is no secret how big of a challenge this will be for Iowa State.

Baylor plays quick on both sides of the ball. Providing a threat to score quickly offensively, and come up with a big play defensively when needed.

Offensive coordinator Tom Manning said while they are known for their speed, it is their knowledge of the game and strong coaching staff that bring them to the level that they are on.

“The players really know what they’re doing,” Manning said. “Not only from a schematics standpoint, from a fundamental and technique, they’re really sound. On top of that, I think they’re very talented.”

Baylor quarterback Blake Shapen runs an offense that has plenty of speed to go around. Shapen has thrown four touchdowns and ran for two, creating a tough matchup for the Cyclone defense.

Defensive coordinator Jon Heacock said containing Shapen inside the tackles is one of the keys to the game.

“He can hurt you with his feet, he can hurt you scrambling, he can get out of the pocket, he can make the pocket move,” Heacock said. “He can put you in some situations of that kind of in between all the time, and I think that’s where we’re going to have to be really good.”

Last week Heacock said despite allowing 10 and seven points in the first two games, there were some issues in terms of fundamentals on the defense. Heacock holds his defense to an extremely high standard, and he feels that that side of the ball is not quite there yet.

“We still had some integrity issues, some communication issues,” Heacock said. “Just some things where all 11 guys aren’t on the same sentence.”

Anthony Johnson Jr. expects this game to be fast and physical, with Baylor using the whole field to showcase its athleticism.

Johnson reeled in his first career interception against Ohio and said he does not regret his move to safety whatsoever. Johnson feels that he is playing some of the best football in his career due to the position change and is ready to start Big 12 play.

The game is set to begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Jack Trice Stadium and will air on ESPN 2.