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Offensive Players to Watch: Iowa State @ Baylor

Leadership on offense (and special teams)

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Iowa State: Wide Receiver - Jaylin Noel

It’s been a relatively quiet past couple of games for Jaylin Noel in the receiving game, but where he really shined bright in Cincinnati was in the return game. Noel had a pair of nice kickoff returns, getting the Cyclone offense good starting field position. It’s not hard to see that when this offense starts off on the right foot, that’s what gets them in a rhythm to put points on the board.

Though while his return game has been excellent, Iowa State really hasn’t gotten Noel going on offense the last couple games. While he did have a team-high 7 catches in the win over TCU, he only managed 34 yards. Any time you’re under 5 yards per reception, it’s not ideal... While Jayden Higgins took over the Chili Bowl before the bye, I’ll pick Noel to be the guy to step up this week. Iowa State struggled a bit in the red zone to get touchdowns instead of field goals, and I think Jaylin Noel is the answer to getting into the end zone. He’s shifty, smart, and good with the ball in his hands in space. Look for #13 to make an impact where it matters most this week for the Cyclone offense.

Baylor: Quarterback - Blake Shapen

Normally, I’d contrast the two picks by picking a linebacker and a running back or saying the battle in the trenches or something, but I’m actually going to go a little bit of a different route this week. In order for Baylor to win this game, Blake Shapen is going to continue to do what he’s done all year: Not throw interceptions.

Shapen faces an Iowa State defense tied for 2nd in the nation with 12 interceptions and have forced 6 of those in their last two games. Shapen has yet to turn the ball over on a pass and will look to continue that this week. He’s done a great job at distributing the ball around the field, but has seen his completion percentage drop below 60% in each of his last two games. While he hasn’t turned the ball over, the Bears have given up 9 sacks in their last two games, which is something they cannot afford against this Cyclones defense. Iowa State hasn’t been the best at getting sacks this year, but if they can start to turn that up against a struggling Bears line, it could force Shapen into that mistake that he hasn’t yet made this year.