Iowa State vs. Baylor: Don't Forget the Bears Have a Defense, Too

Ben Kercheval@@BenKerchevalCollege Football Lead WriterOctober 19, 2013

Kansas State holding Baylor to 35 points in a Week 7 loss to the Bears now looks even more impressive. 

Baylor was back to its usual ways on Saturday in a 71-7 win over Iowa State that, per Bobby LaGesse of the Ames Tribune, is the largest margin of defeat in the history of Cyclones football.  

The offensive numbers for Baylor were about what one would expect. The Bears had 714 total yards of offense broken down into 423 yards passing and 291 yards rushing. The deluge of points came in just about every variety: long, sustained drives; short, quick scores; and two special teams plays (one kickoff return for a touchdown and one punt return for a touchdown). 

There's not much that can be said about Baylor's offense that hasn't already been said a thousand times already. What the Bears did on defense against the Cyclones, however, deserves recognition. 

Baylor held Iowa State to 174 yards in total offense and only 41 yards rushing, which is Iowa State's bread and butter. Of course, it's impossible to keep running the ball down 50 points, but credit the Bears for shutting it down early. 

Especially after Baylor gave up 327 yards on the ground to Kansas State in Week 7, it was a significant improvement in a matter of a week. 

"My hat's off to [defensive coordinator Phil] Bennett. It's been a long time since Baylor has had a defense like this," Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty said after the game, per Baylor Football

Iowa State may not be considered a great offensive team, but that narrative doesn't apply in Big 12 games this year. Heading into Saturday's game against the Bears, ISU was one of four Big 12 teams—along with Baylor, Texas and Texas Tech—averaging over 30 points a game in conference play. 

Perhaps that says more about the topsy-turvy state of the Big 12, but point being, Iowa State has shown before it can score. 

The only thing Iowa State did on offense Saturday was turn the ball over three times, which Baylor turned into 14 points. Baylor also forced Iowa State to punt 10 times, one of which also led to points. 

If Baylor fails to score 70 points again like it did against K-State, those are the areas in which Art Briles' team will have to pick up the slack. If Baylor's defense gives up yards, it has to compensate by forcing turnovers and then capitalizing on them. If it's a defensive struggle, special teams have to make a play. 

All three of those areas came together against Iowa State.

The Big 12 may be average this season, but there's no team that has been this dominant in the conference since the 2009 Texas Longhorns. That doesn't mean Baylor will go undefeated and play for a BCS National Championship, but it does continue to show that the Bears are rightfully the favorite to win the conference in 2013.