Both Baylor and Iowa State have lost multiple consecutive games, and the two teams will be highly motivated to enjoy a victory this Saturday.
Baylor has lost three games in a row following a heart-breaking 70-63 loss in a shootout with West Virginia. The defense has not fared well in recent weeks, and the Bears also dropped to TCU and Texas.
The Cyclones put up an excellent fight against No. 3 Kansas State two weeks ago, but could not pull out a victory. Their performance against Oklahoma State this past weekend was markedly less impressive, and this game also ended in defeat.
Now, both teams will desperately try to return to winning ways. Here is everything you need to know about this contest.
Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, Iowa
When: Saturday, October 27, 7 p.m. ET
Live Stream: BaylorBears.com (audio)
Betting Line: Iowa State -2.5 (according to Sports Book)
Baylor Injury Report (via USA Today)
Mike Hicks—senior safety is questionable with a knee injury.
Demetri Goodson—senior defensive back is out indefinitely with a broken arm.
Kaeron Johnson—senior defensive tackle is out for the season with a back injury.
Iowa State Injury Report (via USA Today)
Josh Lenz—senior wide receiver is questionable with an undisclosed injury.
James White—junior running back is questionable with a knee injury.
Shaban Dika—sophomore offensive lineman is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury.
BCS/Top 25 Poll Implications
Both these teams are near the bottom of the Big 12 standings, nowhere near cracking the Top 25 in the BCS standings and are not close to breaking into any other polls.
This game is purely for bragging rights at this point, and barring a spectacular run from one of these teams, neither will make waves in the national polls.
What They’re Saying
ESPN Dallas’ David Ubben has seen enough positive developments from Baylor this season to believe that it is better than its record suggests, but still wants to see the Bears win some more games before making any sweeping judgments.
My gut says Baylor is better than this, but let's hear from the Bears when they win a Big 12 game. High-scoring wins over Louisiana-Monroe and SMU looked good at the time, but Baylor's not guaranteed a bowl berth this season, and the Bears join Kansas as the only Big 12 teams without a league win yet.
Bobby La Gesse of the Ames Tribune notes that Cyclones still face questions at quarterback, and head coach Paul Rhoads is still waiting for one of his players to provide answers.
Rhoads will open up the starting quarterback job in practice again this week. He did after a loss to Texas Tech three weeks ago. He did it again this past week but said Saturday he never informed the media.
He’ll do it this upcoming week as he seeks consistency from quarterbacks Steele Jantz, Barnett or Sam Richardson. If he needs to, Rhoads is content with holding open tryouts before every remaining game.
Baylor Player to Watch: Terrance Williams, Wide Receiver
The Baylor passing attack has produced more yards per game than any team in the nation, and Terrance Williams has been a significant part of the team’s success through the air.
The 6’2”, 205-pound wideout has 47 catches for 1,013 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He has the talent to cause significant problems in the the Iowa State secondary.
Iowa State Player to Watch: Jake Knott, Linebacker
Iowa State’s physical defense will be put to the test against the Bears, and the linebacking corps will need to continue its spectacular play in order to the team to slow down Baylor.
Knott is the Cyclones’ leading tackler and tied for the team-high with seven passes defended. He is everywhere on the field, whether it is in run support or in coverage, and he has the ability to frustrate the Baylor offense.
Key Matchup: Iowa State Running Game vs. Baylor Defense
Both of these teams are excellent on one side of the ball and weak on the other. Baylor’s defense has been torched far too often this year, while Iowa State’s offense has failed to produce on several occasions.
Iowa State will need to get its ground game in rhythm early in order to keep the Baylor offense off the field, while the Bears must not get steamrolled by the Cyclones offense. The team whose weakness is least apparent in this game will end up with a victory.
Key Storyline: Baylor Getting Its First Big 12 Win
While neither of these teams have fared well in conference games, Baylor will have to face the reality of an extremely disappointing season if it cannot win this game.
Kansas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are their five remaining games. The Jayhawks and the Cowboys are the only teams that are not ranked, and the game against KU will likely be the only game in which the Bears are favored. If they lose to the Cyclones, ending the year with just one win in the Big 12 will be a real possibility.
Prediction: Iowa State 34, Baylor 28
Home-field advantage and a tough defense will allow the Cyclones to squeak by in this game.