The Baylor Bears put their high-octane offense to the test against visiting Iowa State in a Big 12 showdown. Baylor is still riding high at 5-0 — its best start in more than 20 years — and shooting for its first 6-0 start since its Cotton Bowl season of 1980.
Meanwhile, Iowa State is still reeling from dropping two straight heartbreakers: a controversial 31-30 game against Texas two weeks ago, then a hard-fought 42-35 loss to No. 20 Texas Tech in a game that came down to an onside kick with under two minutes left. The Cyclones gave up 666 yards in the loss to Texas Tech, which is disconcerting on multiple levels.
Rankings and records: This is the 12th meeting between these two teams, and Iowa State leads the series 6-5, including a 35-21 win in Ames last season. Fun note! Their first meeting was in 1988, and it was the first college football game I remember. Baylor won that one in Ames, 35-0.
Vegas: Baylor is favored by 34 points, but with an over/under of 75 points, both teams should be setting off fireworks in the scoreboard.
Weather: It'll be a gorgeous night in Waco with temperatures hanging around in the 60s under clear skies.
Three names to know
Baylor QB Bryce Petty isn't on many Heisman lists, but perhaps he should be; Petty leads the nation in passing efficiency with a 231.0 rating and has led the Bears to the top scoring offense in the league. He's got 13 scoring passes in just 114 attempts and has thrown just one interception, and he's usually done for the day by sometime in the third quarter.
Then again, perhaps the reason Petty isn't getting more national love is because his tailback Lache Seastrunk has 643 yards and eight touchdowns on just 65 rushes (an absurd 10 yards per carry.) Like Petty, Seastrunk's days are usually done pretty early, and if he needs to carry the ball more than 20 times against the porous Iowa State defense, something will have gone very wrong.
If the Cyclones want any hope at all of winning, they'll need a career day from QB Sam Richardson, an elusive dual threat type who can pose problems if opposing defenses get sloppy. Richardson's line is so bad, though, that when he takes off running it's usually by necessity.
Two things at stake
Baylor still isn't to the meat of its schedule, especially with last week's foe Kansas State being far off its usual pace this season, and nobody's going to confuse Iowa State for the foe that turns Baylor's strength of schedule around. If Baylor wants to make the case that it's a Top 10 team this year, a right shellacking of this inferior foe is in order — and we've seen no shortage of those shellackings from Baylor already this year.
For Iowa State, it's important to not have an emotional letdown in this game, because Baylor's top-ranked offense will feast on a team that's not bringing its best effort — especially with ISU's overarching lack of talent to begin with. And make no mistake, this is a pride game for ISU and head coach Paul Rhoads, who knows a thing or two about pride. Perhaps the Cyclones won't win, but it's on them to make this one competitive for as long as possible; once you start packing it in against a top offense, the floodgates open and wash morale away with a quickness.
How to witness
TV: The game is at 7 p.m. ET (6 p.m. CT, local for both teams) on ESPNU, with Clay Matvick, Matt Stinchcomb and Dawn Davenport on the call.