2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 6 - Iowa State at Baylor
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Oct. 8 at Baylor 49 … Iowa State 26
CFN Analysis: Oh yeah, the running game. Robert Griffin was Robert Griffin throwing the ball, hitting 22-of-30 passes, but he only threw for 212 yards. He was terrific on the ground, running 24 times for 107 yards, while Terrence Ganaway ripped off 200 yards with scores from three, two, and 22 yards away as the Bears controlled the ball and the clock holding on for 36 minutes and finishing with 603 yards of total offense. The secondary continues to be a problem, but as long as the offense keeps showing off the same sort of explosion, mixed in with a little bit of balance, the defensive problems might be hidden … might. With road trips to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State up next, 600 yards and 49 points probably aren't going to get the job done.
Iowa State's run defense hasn't been bad, but the line didn't have a chance against the Baylor ground game. The secondary did a nice job of keeping the big plays to a minimum, but the D couldn't get off the field as Baylor cranked out long drive after long drive. Finally, the Cyclones didn't get blown away in turnover margin, forcing two fumbles while giving away two turnovers, but the game changed on a fumble, returned by BU's Tevin Elliott for a score. Instead of going in for a score that would've put them down seven, they were down 21 and the game was over. Steele Jantz kept pressing, and Darius Reynolds was brilliant with seven catches for 178 yards and two scores, but to beat the better Big 12 teams, the offense has to be flawless. All turnovers have to stop.
(AP) WACO, Texas -- After a narrow loss last weekend in its Big 12 opener, Baylor turned to a powerful ground game to recover from the setback.
Robert Griffin III ran for a season-high 107 yards, Terrance Ganaway rushed for a career-high 200 yards and three scores and No. 25 Baylor beat Iowa State 49-26 on Saturday night.
Powered by 391 rushing yards, the Bears (4-1, 1-1) bounced back from a 36-35 loss to No. 20 Kansas State. Baylor blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Wildcats.
Ganaway, a fifth-year senior, led Baylor's offensive charge as Griffin threw for a season-low 212 yards. "If we weren't able to run the ball, we wouldn't have won the game," said Griffin, who was 22-of-30 passing. "Ganaway was a big part of that."
Baylor's Tevin Elliott returned a fumble 86 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter as Iowa State was threatening to make the game close.
"Tevin has been a ball hawk his entire career," Bears coach Art Briles said. "That swung the momentum."
Darius Reynolds had 178 yards receiving and two touchdowns, and Steele Jantz threw for three scores as Iowa State (3-2, 0-2) lost its second straight after a 3-0 start.
The Cyclones did not make any players available to the media after the game.
"There's a reason they're 4-1 and a Top-25 football team," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "They've got great skill and they play very good football."
After Ganaway's 3-yard TD run gave Baylor a 28-14 advantage in the third, the Cyclones were deep in Bears territory after Jantz connected with Reynolds on a 57-yard pass.
Jantz was running to his left when Gary Mason Jr. stripped the Iowa State quarterback. Elliott scooped up the loose ball and ran into the end zone untouched to give Baylor a 35-14 lead with 6:18 left in the third.
"I haven't run like that since high school," Elliott said. "The monkey jumped on my back about halfway down there. Luckily, I made it."
After a review of the play, it was ruled the ball popped out just before Jantz's knee hit the ground.
It was second key booth review that went in Baylor's favor.
In the second quarter, it was ruled on the field that Griffin lost a fumble. However, the play was overturned when replay officials said Griffin's arm was in motion before he dropped the ball.
Griffin threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Wright on the next play to tie the game at 14.
"Anything that has to do with officiating," Rhoads said. "I'm just gonna to leave that be."
Even though Griffin hit on his first 11 passes to start the game, Baylor didn't score in the opening quarter because it lost two fumbles. Griffin's first incompletion came with 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter when he threw the ball away while scrambling away from pressure.
Baylor's first touchdown came on Griffin's 1-yard sneak. The Heisman candidate then dodged his near fumble and threw the TD pass to Wright.
Iowa State sacked Griffin three times and constantly hounded Baylor's star all game.
Behind Ganaway, the Bears turned to its ground game.
The Bears took a 21-14 advantage on a 58-yard drive, all of which came on running plays. Ganaway, who lost a fumble in the first quarter, had a 13-yard carry to set up Glasco Martin's 1-yard plunge into the end zone.
Ganaway also had TD runs of 2 and 22 yards in the fourth quarter.
"Sometimes I was 20 yards down the field before I even got touched," said Ganaway, who carried the ball 23 times.
Iowa State's James White rushed for 148 yards, including a 76-yard TD in the third.
Jantz and Reynolds hooked up three times for 76 yards on Iowa State's opening drive. Reynolds caught a 10-yard TD pass to put the Cyclones on top 7-0.
Jantz also threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Reid Branderhorst in the second quarter.
Iowa State (3-1) at Baylor (3-1) Oct. 8, 7:00, FSN
Here's The Deal … In any normal year and any normal Big 12 season, this matchup would go a long way to determining the No. 12 team in a 12-team conference. This isn't a normal year and this isn't a normal season. And there aren't 12 teams in the Big 12.
When all the smoke clears from the round-robin tournament of a Big 12 conference season, Kansas will probably be the worst team in the league, and the loser of this game will probably end up ninth. For all the good things the two did over the first month of the season, each still has major flaws and each still has the Big 12 big boys to deal with.
That Baylor lost to Kansas State last week is the secondary story to the terrific performance of Robert Griffin, who continued his hot streak as the best player in America over the first four games. He might have picked an awful time to come up with his first pick of the season – throwing it late to allow Kansas State to pull out the win – but before that he was breathtaking. With road games against Texas A&M and Oklahoma State up next, a home loss to the Cyclones would all but end all the buzz generated by the win over TCU and would overshadow all the big offensive numbers.
Iowa State beat Iowa and came up with a nice BCS league win over Connecticut, but reality hit hard last week when Texas decided to start playing like Texas again in a 37-14 win. No one plays harder than ISU, but it doesn't have the talent to make a huge dent in the Big 12 standings. It's a good enough team to pull off a few upsets and it's a strong enough team to give everyone a push, but it also needs wins against teams at roughly its own level. Baylor is one of those teams.
Why Iowa State Might Win: Glossed over in all the fun and all the big offensive numbers is a Baylor defense that's getting ripped apart at the worst times. TCU roared back in what seemed like a blowout, bombing away for 25 fourth quarter points and nearly pulling out the win. Kansas State was getting its doors blown off by the Bear offense, but the running game kept on going, kept on going, kept on going, and then came the break needed to pull out the tough win.
Iowa State doesn't have a high-end passing game, and it doesn't have a top-shelf ground attack, but it has the pieces to do a little of what Kansas State did, and a little of what TCU was able to do, to push around the Baylor defense a bit.
Why Baylor Might Win: The late fourth quarter interception thrown by Griffin was an aberration; Baylor has fumble problems, but Griffin doesn't give the ball away. Iowa State has been a disaster in turnover margin with the same six fumbles BU has given up, but the seven interceptions have been a bigger problem. Iowa State doesn't have the offensive talent to hang with Baylor punch after punch, and it needs to be at least +2 in turnover margin and has to take advantage of every opportunity. It's not going to be +2 in turnover margin.
The Cyclone defensive front doesn't get into the backfield on a regular basis, and that was a killer last week against Texas. The young Longhorn quarterbacks needed to be pressured, and while the ISU line came up with two sacks and nine tackles for loss, it wasn't enough. Baylor's offensive line isn't anything special, but it's doing a good enough job to get by while Griffin and his speed and quickness buys him loads of time. The Bears have the talent and the balance to move the ball in a variety of ways, and Iowa State's D line won't be able to do enough to stop it.
What To Watch Out For: Jake Knott was everything for the Iowa State defense last year, coming up with 130 tackles, and he picked up where he left off with 41 tackles and five tackles for loss so far as the heart and soul of the defense. The 6-2, 243-pound junior linebacker is a smart, tough defender who's a better football player than an all-around athlete, and against Baylor he has to stuff the running game and spy on Griffin when he wants to take off, and he has to hope that everyone else can do its job against the Bear receiving corps.
Griffin is getting the Heisman hype, but his main man, senior Kendall Wright, continues to be one of the main reasons the numbers have been so phenomenal. He had a great first three games, and then he took his production to a whole other level against Kansas State with nine catches for 201 yards and three scores hitting home runs from 43, 34, and 35 yards away. While he was held to 41 yards on seven catches in the 2009 loss to the Cyclones, he had his first two touchdown game as a freshman catching seven passes for 132 yards and two scores in a 38-10 win.
What Will Happen: Iowa State won't be able to keep up the pace, but quarterback Steele Jantz will have a huge day. He'll throw for over 300 yards, but he'll also throw three picks to turn a tight game into a comfortable Baylor lead. Griffin will be nearly perfect in an ultra-focused effort.
CFN Prediction: Baylor 38 … Iowa State 26
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Baylor -15.5 O/U: 63
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