Iowa State controlled its own destiny for a spot in the Big 12 championship game before dropping tight games the last two weeks and cannot afford to surrender anymore ground. The Cyclones will try to avoid a third consecutive setback when they visit Baylor on Saturday.
Iowa State is going through the week of practice without a firm handle on the quarterback situation after starter Kyle Kempt went down with an injury to his throwing shoulder last week and freshman Zeb Noland came on strong in relief. Kempt is considered day-to-day by the Cyclones staff and was back at practice on Sunday, though he was not making any throws. Whoever gets under center for Iowa State on Saturday should not have too many problems against a Bears secondary surrendering an average of 269.9 yards passing - 113th out of 129 FBS teams. Baylor’s lone win this season was a 38-9 romp over winless Kansas on Nov. 4, but it followed that up by dropping a 38-24 decision to Texas Tech last week to mark the sixth time in as many Big 12 losses that it surrendered at least 33 points.
TV: 2:30 p.m. ET, FSN. LINE: Iowa State -9.5
ABOUT IOWA STATE (6-4, 4-3 Big 12): Cyclones running back David Montgomery needs 64 yards to reach 1,000 on the season and helped keep his team in the game against Oklahoma State last week with 105 yards and three touchdowns. “What he does and how he does it is really special,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell told reporters of Montgomery. “He’s one of the best I’ve ever been around in terms of who he is every day, to his ability to make something out of nothing.” The Cyclones can clinch a winning record in conference play for the first time since 2000 with a win on Saturday.
ABOUT BAYLOR (1-9, 1-6): The Bears are just looking for small signs of progress at this point and got some last week from freshman quarterback Charlie Brewer, who set school records for completions (43) and attempts (63) while throwing for 417 yards and three touchdowns. Brewer also accounted for three turnovers (one interception, two lost fumbles). “We saw him do a nice job in terms of throwing the football and getting us in the right place a lot,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule told reporters of Brewer. “But we turned the ball over three times. Really, the fumbles are one thing, but the pick in the end zone was something I got after him about a little bit. You don’t get to decide, ‘hey, I’m just going to throw this up and see what happens.’ You throw the ball out of bounds, you play the next play, you kick the field goal, and it’s 24-10. And that’s how we play football.”
1. Iowa State WR Trever Ryen (head injury) left last week’s game but is expected to play Saturday.
2. Baylor WR Denzel Mims became the 10th receiver in school history to reach 1,000 receiving yards last week.
3. The Bears took the last four in the series.
PREDICTION: Iowa 42, Baylor 35