AMES — No. 24 Iowa State (5-3, 4-2 Big 12) returns home to host Baylor (5-4, 3-3) this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. (FS1). The winner will become bowl eligible.
Here are 5 Things to know about the Bears.
1. The (Green and) Golden Rhule
Baylor coach Matt Rhule was hired amid one of the biggest college football scandals in recent history (which is saying quite a bit) when then-Baylor coach Art Briles was fired for not having control of his football program and his players.
Rhule’s Baylor team struggled last season, his first year. The Bears went just 1-11, only beating Kansas.
But Baylor showed flashes during the first season. The Bears lost four one-score games, including against Oklahoma and West Virginia.
Rhule seems to be on the Matt Campbell track. The first season, the team needed to learn how to compete. Now Baylor is learning how to win.
Baylor is starting to win those close games, beating Kansas State 37-34 and beating Oklahoma State last week 35-31.
Baylor doesn’t have any bad conference losses either, losing to Oklahoma, Texas and West Virginia, the top three teams in the Big 12.
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2. Quarterback duo
Baylor uses two quarterbacks, sophomore Charlie Brewer and redshirt senior Jalan McClendon.
Brewer gets more playing time, but McClendon completes a higher percentage of his passes.
Brewer has played in all nine games, and he’s completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,876 yards, 12 touchdowns and six interceptions. McClendon has played in seven games for Baylor — not playing in the Texas and Kansas State games. He’s completed 66 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Both quarterbacks have the ability to run, as well. Brewer has gained 293 yards on the ground and McClendon has gained 153 yards. If you include sacks, Brewer’s yardage goes down to just 151 yards and McClendon’s drops to 102.
3. Converted running back
Rhule converted 6-foot-4 redshirt senior Jalen Hurd from running back to receiver.
Hurd, a former 5-star recruit, started his collegiate career at Tennessee, where he was a starter since day one. His freshman season, he racked up 190 carries for 899 yards and five touchdowns. As a sophomore, he totaled 1,288 yards on the ground. His junior year, he only played in seven games.
Hurd sat out last season to satisfy the NCAA’s transfer requirements.
Now, as a receiver, Hurd is putting up more impressive numbers. He leads the Bears in receiving with 756 yards and four touchdowns.
He’s also made an impact in the run game with 36 carries for 166 yards.
4. All-time great
Baylor is the alma mater of one of the greatest linebackers in football history.
Mike Singletary called Baylor home from 1977-80.
In the NFL, Singletary made his name for the Chicago Bears. He was a Pro Bowl selection 10 times, a first-team All-Pro pick eight times and a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He finished his NFL career with 1,488 tackles.
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Singletary first got into coaching in 2003 as the Baltimore Ravens’ linebackers coach. He eventually worked his way up to head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, but he only lasted three seasons, going 18-22.
5. Fixer Upper
Rhule inherited a fixer-upper of a football program at Baylor. If Chip and Johanna Gaines, stars of the former hit-HGTV show Fixer Upper, were as good at fixing football programs as they are at fixing houses, I’m sure Rhule would bring them on staff.
The Gaineses are both Baylor alumni and made their allegiances well known in their show.
Baylor has also produced other well-known TV stars and comedians. Angela Kinsey played Angela Martin on “The Office.” Comedian Jeff Dunham attended Baylor as well.
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