Baylor offense vs. Iowa State defense

Baylor’s offense showed a lot of good signs in last week’s 38-24 loss to Texas Tech as it amassed 523 yards. But four turnovers were costly, including two fumbles and an interception by freshman quarterback Charlie Brewer. Though Iowa State’s defense was torched for 522 yards in last weekend’s 49-42 loss to Oklahoma State, it has been good most of the season. The Cyclones play a tough, physical defensive style that sets a tone for the entire team.

Edge: Iowa State

Baylor defense vs. Iowa State offense

The Bears have made considerable strides defensively in the last three weeks with solid performances against Texas, Kansas and Texas Tech. The Bears limited the explosive Red Raiders to 377 yards and 24 points as Tech scored two other touchdowns on a kickoff return and a fumble return. After Kyle Kempt went out with a shoulder injury, Iowa State freshman quarterback Zeb Noland stepped in and passed for 263 yards against the Cowboys last weekend.

Edge: Baylor

Key matchup: Baylor running backs vs. Iowa State defense

The Bears have had difficulty running the ball all season, putting great pressure on Baylor’s quarterbacks. Brewer set school records with 43 completions in 63 attempts against the Red Raiders. Iowa State’s rushing defense has been strong all season as opponents have averaged 136.9 yards per game and 3.7 yards per carry. Quarterback Joel Lanning has made a great transition to middle linebacker with a team-high 99 tackles, including seven for loss and three sacks.

Edge: Iowa State

Special teams

Connor Martin continues to be a major bright spot for the Bears as he’s hit 16 of 19 field goals and averaged 42.4 yards on 27 punts. Tony Nicholson has been an excellent punt returner but he’s been hampered by an ankle injury. Iowa State’s Garrett Owens has been a dependable kicker as he’s hit 12 of 16 field goals while Colin Downing is averaging 41 yards per punt. Trever Ryen is a dynamic punt returner who is averaging 12.7 yards for the Cyclones.

Edge: Baylor

Intangibles

Baylor would love to win its first home game this season and send out the seniors in a big way with a win. The Bears haven’t won a game at McLane Stadium since a 49-7 thrashing of Kansas on Oct. 15, 2016. The Cyclones are already bowl eligible with a 6-4 record despite losing the last two games to West Virginia and Oklahoma State. Second-year Iowa State coach Matt Campbell has positioned himself for Big 12 coach of the year with the Cyclones’ turnaround season.

Edge: Iowa State

— John Werner

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