WACO, Texas — Baylor kicker John Mayers made his first career field goal in a memorable fashion.
Mayers had already missed a 38-yard field goal from the right hash mark earlier in the game.
In the fourth quarter, with 21 seconds left in the game, trailing by one point, Mayers was tasked with another 38-yard field goal from the right hashmark to take the lead.
Mayers hit the ball true and Baylor beat Iowa State Saturday, 23-21.
Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell has talked endlessly this season about his team’s integrity and character — even in hard times, his team stays in the game. Once again, he was happy with how his team was able to climb back into this game, even though it came up short.
Iowa State trailed Baylor 20-0 to begin the fourth quarter. Its integrity was being tested.
The Cyclones (2-2, 0-1) defense looked gassed and the offense wasn’t productive. But they rallied and scored 21 unanswered points.
It ended up not being enough against the Bears (4-0, 1-0).
“We did some of these things to ourselves, again,” Campbell said on the Cyclone Radio Network. “We put ourselves in a bad situation early and it really forced us to crawl back, and our kids did and gave us a chance to win the football game at the end. You have to have the character, toughness and a team that’s willing to fight back, and I thought our kids fought.”
A week after Iowa State could do no wrong on offense, scoring on 11-straight drives, the Cyclones couldn’t produce a point until the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Brock Purdy struggled for 2 1/2 quarters before he got hot. He was just 14 for 27 with an interception ending the game by completing 13 of 18 passes.
Purdy finished with 27 completions on 45 passing attempts for 342 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and one fumble, which was the game-sealing play.
The sophomore had a difficult time navigating Baylor’s defense, which dropped eight players most of the time, forcing Purdy to throw into tight windows or hold the ball and make second and third reads.
Receiver Deshaunte Jones was his normal, productive self, catching seven passes for 77 yards. But fellow receiver Tarique Milton left the game due to injury and finished with three catches for 40 yards. Defensive end JaQuan Bailey also missed the better part of three quarters with a leg injury.
Iowa State’s tight ends stepped up for Purdy and the Cyclones. Charlie Kolar had five catches for 72 yards and one touchdown. Chase Allen hauled in two receptions for 37 yards. One of his catches got Iowa State down to the 5-yard line, which led to a Johnnie Lang rushing touchdown.
The Cyclones didn’t run the ball well for most of the game. Iowa State’s most productive running back, Kene Nwangwu, was limited due to injury. He rushed the ball three times for 13 yards.
Lang was Iowa State’s most productive running back and he ran the ball just six times for 35 yards and the one touchdown.
“Different guys made big plays for us — Chase Allen and Johnnie Lang.” Campbell said. “Then No. 15 (Purdy) was huge. It just wasn’t enough.”
Iowa State moved the ball OK early in the game despite Purdy’s slow start, but kicker Connor Assalley missed two 49-yard field goals.
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Baylor opened the scoring in the second quarter after going for it on fourth-and-5. On the next play, Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer found receiver Denzel Mims for the game’s first touchdown.
Mims added another touchdown and he finished with six receptions for 106 yards.
Iowa State’s defense played well in every quarter except the third, where it was apparent the 100-plus degree on-field heat got to the defense. To make matters worse for the Cyclones, Baylor’s sideline was in the shade and Iowa State’s was in direct sun.
Linebacker O’Rien Vance continued his impressive play by leading the team in tackles with nine, plus two sacks and three quarterback hurries.
Iowa State hosts TCU next week in Ames at 11 a.m.