Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State football vs. Baylor breakdown: Pregame analysis, prediction

Breece Hall should have another big day against Bears

Iowa State hosts Baylor this Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.
Iowa State hosts Baylor this Saturday at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames.

AMES — A closer look at Saturday’s Big 12 Conference football game between Iowa State (4-2, 4-1) and Baylor (1-3, 1-3) at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. Kickoff is 6 p.m. (FS1).

Iowa State offense

Iowa State has the No. 1 rushing offense in the Big 12, averaging 200.7 yards per game.

That’s spearheaded by the nation’s leading rusher, Breece Hall. Hall is averaging 150.2 yards per game and has 11 rushing touchdowns.

The sophomore didn’t play in last season’s game against Baylor, which the Cyclones lost 23-21.

“They didn’t get to see me last year and what I can do and how I play,” Hall said. “I feel like that’ll be a big advantage for us.”

Iowa State defense

Once again, Iowa State is in the top half of the Big 12 in almost every statistical category.

The Cyclones are allowing 26 points and 359 yards per game, both of which rank fourth.

Iowa State shines up front along the defensive line and with its linebackers. Opposing teams are averaging just 3.1 yards per rush, which is second best in the Big 12 and the Cyclones have recorded 18 sacks, which is third.

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Iowa State’s secondary hasn’t been too bad either, recording five interceptions, which is fourth in the Big 12.

“Defensively they’re unique and they force an offense to be patient and not force balls down field,” Baylor Coach Dave Aranda said. “Most folks are unwilling or unable to do that.”

Baylor offense

Baylor’s offense is led by senior quarterback Charlie Brewer.

Brewer hasn’t been having the type of season he’s accustomed to, completing just 60 percent of his passes — a career low for the four-year starter.

The Bears also don’t have much of a run game with the backs averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.

Even though the offensive production is down in a big way, Campbell knows Baylor still has some of the weapons from its team that played in the Big 12 championship game last season.

“I’ll be honest with you, I think this is one of the most talented teams we’ve played,” Campbell said. “I think it has elite skill. Maybe the most skilled team, in a lot of ways. I know Oklahoma State is outstanding and I think in some ways they’re on that level in terms of elite skill. They’re a group that’s got elite playmakers on offense and a group that’s got a championship-level quarterback.”

BAylor defense

Aranda is a defensive-minded coach and that’s shown itself this season.

Baylor is third in the Big 12 in scoring defense, allowing teams to score just 25.3 points per game. The defense also ranks third in yards per play at just 5.1.

Where the Bears struggle, and mightily, is in stopping the run.

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Baylor is allowing 177.3 yards per game on the ground, which is the second worst in the Big 12. Only Kansas is worse.

Final thoughts

Iowa State has the best running back in the Big 12 and maybe in the nation. Baylor has the second-worst run defense. Hall should have another big day and that should lead to another Iowa State win to stay atop the Big 12 standings.

Prediction — Iowa State 28, Baylor 17

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