HOW THEY MATCH UP

Baylor offense vs. Iowa State defense

Quarterback Charlie Brewer showed just how much he means to the Bears when he entered last week’s game against Oklahoma State late in the third quarter after undergoing concussion protocol during the week. Trailing 24-14, Brewer led the Bears to three touchdowns in the final 16 minutes to pull off a stunning 35-31 win at McLane Stadium that put the Bears on the cusp of bowl eligibility. If Brewer can guide the Bears to a road win over the Cyclones, it would be a huge step in the development of Matt Rhule’s second-year program. But Iowa State’s defense is much better than Oklahoma’s State’s as it leads the Big 12 in total defense and scoring defense.

Edge: Iowa State

Iowa State offense vs. Baylor defense

Since freshman Brock Purdy took over as quarterback, Iowa State has won four straight games to push into the Top 25. The Cyclones are averaging 36.1 points per game during their four-game winning streak. Purdy has completed 66.3 percent for 1,085 yards and 12 touchdowns with just two interceptions and has a major deep threat in receiver Hakeem Butler. His passing has complemented a strong Iowa State running game led by David Montgomery. The Baylor defense showed some good signs last week as it sacked Oklahoma State quarterback Taylor Cornelius four times, but the Bears still allowed 523 yards.

Edge: Iowa State

Key matchup: ISU RB David Montgomery vs. Baylor defensive line

Montgomery is one of the premier backs in the Big 12, ranking second behind Kansas State’s Alex Barnes with 101.7 yards per game. With 712 yards, the powerful 5-11, 206-pound junior is on pace for his second straight 1,000-yard season. Baylor’s run defense is vulnerable, ranking last in the Big 12 by allowing 189.3 yards per game. Having to worry about Montgomery and freshman sensation Brock Purdy at quarterback can make any defensive coordinator sweat.

Edge: Iowa State

Special teams

Baylor’s Drew Galitz continues to enjoy a strong senior year by averaging 43.4 yards per punt. Connor Martin has been more erratic lately but he’s still nailed 13 of 19 field goals for the season. Iowa State kicker Connor Assalley has hit 11 of 15 field goals while punter Corey Dunn is averaging 38.9 yards. The Cyclones have a clear edge in their return games as Kene Nwangwu is averaging 35.1 yards on seven kick returns and Tarique Milton is averaging 10.8 yards on eight punt returns.

Edge: Iowa State

Intangibles

The Bears have beaten the Cyclones in their last two trips to Ames, pulling off a 49-28 win in 2014 and a 45-42 win in 2016. But the No. 23 Cyclones are a much better team now that’s riding a four-game winning streak. Win or lose, the Iowa State crowds are fervent and often pack Jack Trice Stadium, making it difficult for any visiting team to win. With the temperature expected to be 30 degrees at kickoff, Iowa State will have an even bigger home-field advantage.

Edge: Iowa State

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