There were moments when it looked like Iowa State was in for a long night trying to keep up with Baylor’s receivers.
Yet, the Cyclones weathered those moments and methodically took control of the game behind the arm of Steele Jantz in Iowa State's 35-21 win over Baylor on Saturday night at Jack Trice Stadium. The Cyclones quarterback finished 36 of 52 for 381 yards, five touchdowns and two turnovers (one interception, one fumble) in the victory.
As Rhoads continues to build his program, these are the games the Cyclones must win as they strive to make Jack Trice Stadium one of the Big 12’s toughest venues, particularly against conference teams entering the game winless in the Big 12. These are games quality programs are expected to win, no excuses.
And they did.
Jantz was also the driving force as ISU made the clutch plays when they needed them, converting 12 of 21 third down conversion attempts and running an eye-popping 102 total plays, averaging 5.4 yards per play.
Defensively, the Cyclones forced and recovered three fumbles and added an interception to improve to 20-1 in games in which they held their opponent under 24 points under Rhoads.
ISU has the opportunity for another program-building win next Saturday when Oklahoma visits Ames. The Cyclones win over Oklahoma State was one of college football’s most memorable moments in 2011 and a win over the tradition-rich Sooners would be another brick in the foundation of the program Rhoads is hoping to build.
For Baylor, the post Robert Griffin III-era has been unkind. The Bears dropped to 0-4 in the Big 12 and 3-4 overall after beginning the season with three non-conference victories. With OU, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State remaining on its schedule, BU’s bowl hopes of making a third-straight bowl appearance are quickly disappearing.