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Baylor 49 - Iowa State 28: Game Recap and Notes

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

What is the appropriate reaction to this?

I found myself asking this question as I left Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday night and truth be told, I'm still not sure that I know the answer. I'll keep the editorializing to a minimum, but after suffering a 49-28 set back to #7 Baylor, this Iowa State team has plenty to answer for in the days and weeks to come.

If you want to get technical, the final score shouldn't have come as much of a surprise. After all, Baylor was a 21-point favorite and we all knew just how daunting of a task it would be to stop Art Briles' explosive offense. Unfortunately, that doesn't make the experience of watching it all play out any less frustrating.

Down 14-7 early into the second quarter, Iowa State had a chance to tie it up, but Sam Richardson was flushed out of the pocket by a relentless Baylor pass rush (more on this in a moment) and ended up throwing a left-handed interception. The Bears capitalized immediately on the Cyclone miscue and things started to spiral out of control from there.

When the dust settled, Iowa State found themselves in a 35-7 hole at half time and there was simply no coming back from that type of margin, although they did try and make a game of it, outscoring Baylor 21-14 after the break.

Game Notes and Highlights

  • Richardson pretty much was the offense for Iowa State. He ran for 99 yards, including a 47-yard scamper that saw him make the correct call on a zone read and then outrace the Baylor secondary to the end zone. In the passing game, he struggled from an accuracy stand point, hitting on only 17 of his 39 passes. At least three times, Richardson overshot deep balls to his receivers that could have resulted in points. He finished the day with 212 yards through the air with two TD passes and one terribad interception.
  • Much adieu will be made about Iowa State's ground attack and justifiably so. Cyclone running backs accounted for only 28 yards on 20 carries. Aside from Richardson, who leads the team in rushing (218 yards for the season), Iowa State has not been able to consistently churn out yards in the ground game. The two-back combo of Aaron Wimberly and DeVondrick Nealy are accounting for only 46.3 yards per game. Is this a scheming issue? Is the offensive line not built for run blocking? Are the backs simply not that talented? Whatever the answer is, Iowa State has to get more production in the running game moving forward.
  • T.J. Mutcherson picked off a pass for the second straight game. The staff has always been high on Mutcherson's athleticism and play-making ability and it's starting to show on the field. Coming up with an interception against Bryce Petty is no small feat. Petty only threw three picks all of last year and that was just his first of 2014.
  • Baylor ran 97 plays to the tune of 601 total yards. Iowa State couldn't keep pace, getting off 76 total plays for only 339 yards. For the year, the Cyclones have yet to eclipse 400 yards of offense in a game and are getting outgained by opponents by 151 yards on average.
  • Iowa State will not face a team the rest of this year that is as talented and explosive offensively, but what about that Bear defense? Once a running joke, Phil Bennett has finally scrapped together a unit that can stand on its own merit. Baylor's entire starting defensive line could end up playing on Sundays and Shawn Oakman is as physically impressive as they come. On the post-game show, Ben Bruns noted that he was impressed with how well Jake Campos played, but to the untrained eye, the battle in the trenches was a landslide victory for Baylor's defensive line and ultimately, the biggest difference in the game. I noted earlier that Richardson's accuracy was an issue on Saturday night and you don't have to look any further than Baylor's defensive line to know why. They were in the back field applying pressure on what seemed like every drop back and Iowa State didn't have an answer. Baylor applied some serious heat and they have the athletes to pull it off. I was blown away by how many sets I noticed where Baylor had all 11 players within 5-7 yards of the line of scrimmage. Now, one can make a pretty striking indictment out of that fact against Iowa State's offensive execution, but coming into this game, we heard that this Bear defense was legit and they backed it up in a big way.
  • In a curious decision, Paul Rhoads pulled the red shirt off freshman running back, Martinez Syria, who toted the rock eight times for 15 yards in his Cyclone debut. If we're being honest, though, it was likely only a matter of time before Syria saw the field as the departure of Rob Standard slid Syria up to the 3-hole on the depth chart. Jauan Wesley also burned his red shirt as well. The freshman receiver didn't catch a pass, but with the losses of Quenton Bundrage, P.J. Harris and Brett Medders to season-ending injuries, depth at wide-out was getting awfully thin.
  • Did anyone else notice that the band played "Wabash Canonball" as part of their half time arrangement? Not only that, but there were purple flags and everything. While I'm sure Kansas State appreciates the gesture, since when does the band play our conference rival's tunes? Can we expect "Boomer Sooner" in the coming weeks? Is "Texas Fight" on the docket? Poor choice, band. Very poor choice.
  • Are you sitting down? With Saturday night's loss, Iowa State is now just 2-9 in their last 11 conference home games and just 1-10 in their last 11 home games overall. Neither of those are misprints. To their credit, the fan base continues to pack Jack Trice Stadium, but let's call a spade a spade here; there is no home-field advantage for this program.

So back to the original question; what is the appropriate reaction to this loss?