Ames, IA – Attendance 42,253
Iowa State got a good effort from the defense and excellent quarterback play in a 24-10 victory over the Baylor Bears. It was the first Big 12 win since the 2006 season for the Cyclones and ends an 11 game conference losing streak. Austen Arnaud led ISU to a 17-3 lead before leaving with a hand injury in the third quarter. Freshman Jerome Tiller came in to the game and promptly took Iowa State on a 32 yard scoring drive that he finished off himself with a 20 yard TD run. The Cyclone defense held Baylor to less than 100 yards rushing and intercepted QB Blake Szymanski three times.
Iowa State improves to 4-3 (1-2) and Baylor drops to 3-3 (0-2). ISU travels to Lincoln, NE this Saturday to take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in an 11:30 kickoff (FSN).
Iowa State – The Good
1. The Offensive Line continued it’s impressive play, leading the offense to some very impressive statistics: 27 first downs, 240 rushing yards, 214 passing yards, 12-18 on 3rd down, 1 sack allowed.
2. The defense had it’s best game of the year holding Baylor to 89 yards rushing and picking off Blake Szymanski 3 times. The D got a key stop on Baylor’s first drive of the second half, the Bears decided to go for it on 4th and 1 from their own 32 yard line and the Cyclones stuffed them. The Baylor touchdown came in garbage time against the 2nd team defense.
3. The quarterback play was outstanding. Austen Arnaud in the starting role and Jerome Tiller finishing off the game strong.
4. It was great to see a blocked punt. The special teams unit caught Baylor completely off guard, Zac Sandvig had a direct line to the punter easily blocking the attempt.
5. The Iowa State coaching staff easily had their best performance. Tom Herman had a great game plan as Iowa State picked away at Baylor’s zone defense. The defense, led by Wally Burnham, did a much better job in coverage after getting embarrased last week at Kansas. Shane Burnham noticed Baylor’s punt team was releasing right away and called for the punt block at the right time. It is awesome to see Paul Rhoads work the refs and show emotion on the sideline, the crowd and players love it.
6. The Cyclones dominated possession time – Iowa State 36:04 to Baylor 23:56
7. Josh Lenz continues to get more work on offense, catching 7 balls for a modest 43 yards. It is only a matter of time before Lenz gets loose.
8. The Energy of the crowd was very good. The crowd wasn’t huge, but the fans were very active. A couple highlights include the return of the wave (old school) and a towel fight in the student section. I also like the cheer addition at the end of the first down chant – didn’t hear it? Make sure you join in next time.
Iowa State – The Bad
1. Grant Mahoney continued his struggles, missing three field goal attempts. Grant missed from 50, 35 and 30 yards, while connecting from 45. If you are calling for Zach Guyer, just stop. Paul Rhoads has made it clear that Mahoney is the guy and he needs to work through his funk.
2. Injuries to the Cyclone backfield. Alexander Robinson left the game in the third quarter, Arnaud has an injury on his throwing hand and Beau Blankenship didn’t play and was noticably hobbled on the sidelines.
3. Too many penalties. The Cyclones were penalized 10 times for 79 yards. To be fair the referees were horrible; an example, Arnaud was penalized 15 yards for pointing to the sky.
4. Sedrick Johnson fumbled near the goal line on his only catch of the game. Luckily Darius Darks was quick to jump on the ball and the Cyclones scored a TD on the next play.
5. I was disappointed in the attendance. I know it is a bad time of year for a lot of Cyclone fans and it was cold, but the team deserves to have more than 42,000 fans.
Cyclones Top Performers
Quarterbacks (Austen Arnaud/Jerome Tiller) – combined for (17 rushes, 119 yards, 2 TD) and (25-36, 214 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)
Marquis Hamilton – 9 catches, 97 yards
Jesse Smith – 11 tackles
Fred Garrin – 7 tackles, 2 INT
Leonard Johnson – 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 INT
Cyclones.com – Athletics Communications
ESPN – AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall