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Players to Watch: Baylor

Conference Play Begins

Syndication: The Ames Tribune Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune / USA TODAY NETWORK

Iowa State

Offense: DeShawn Hanika. DeShawn hasn’t had the most volume with his games this year, but he’s been very impactful with what he’s been able to do. He only has 4 receptions on the year, but half of them have gone for touchdowns. Dekkers has been looking Hanika’s way in the red zone, and for a tight end spot that lost big red zone targets in Charlie Kolar and Chase Allen, having access to another threat at the position this year has been great for Hunter Dekkers.

“Tight End U” is alive and well with DeShawn leading the way this year, and I’d look for that to continue as conference play begins.

Syndication: The Des Moines Register Margaret Kispert/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Defense: O’Rien Vance. The whole linebacker group will be put to the test this weekend against Baylor’s powerful and versatile running game. Of the guys in that group, O’Rien Vance has been the leading tackler with 14 on the season. That number is a little low given the number of snaps given to backups with the blowouts over SEMO and Ohio, but I’d not expect that to be the case this weekend. The Cyclone defense will face its first true test of the season, and it starts with big number 34 right in the middle of it.


Offense: Richard Reese. Baylor has had a large amount of success running the ball this year, and it starts with freshman running back Richard Reese. Reese is leading the way in attempts (34), yards (237), yards per carry (7.0), and touchdowns (5) for the Bears in the early going of the season. With no truly established top wide receiver for Blake Shapen to target on the outside, look for Reese and the running game to be established early and often.

Defense: Siaki Ika. Siaki started his collegiate career at LSU before transferring after 2 years there to Baylor. Last year was his first year with the Bears’ defense and he rattled off 24 total tackles stuffing the middle of the field and adding on an addition four sacks of opposing QBs.

Ika will look to wreak havoc on the Cyclones experienced yet shaky offensive line and will look to pressure Hunter Dekkers who has yet to be pressured consistently through 3 games.