AMES, Iowa — Baylor’s defense, lauded as one of the nation’s best, looked lost as Iowa State scored touchdown after touchdown.
But the Bears did what they do best — stuff teams late — and escaped from Ames with a surprisingly close win.
Chris Callahan hit a 19-yard field goal as time expired and No. 13 Baylor rallied from 14 down in the fourth quarter to beat Iowa State 45-42 on Saturday.
Shock Linwood rushed for 237 yards for the Bears, who have yet to allow a point in the fourth this season.
Baylor (5-0, 2-0), playing without star wide receiver KD Cannon because of a groin injury, trailed 42-28 before using scoring drives of 86 and 84 yards to tie it up.
Baylor’s defense finally stiffened in the fourth quarter and Seth Russell — who was 12 of 22 passing for 178 yards — drove Baylor 83 yards to set up Callahan’s chip shot.
“Credit to Iowa State. They punched us in the mouth several times. We were speaking on the sidelines (saying) ‘this is still our game. We’re still going to fight.’ And we did,” Russell said.
Joel Lanning threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns for Iowa State (1-4, 0-2). Mike Warren added a season-high 130 yards rushing for the Cyclones, who scored touchdowns on their first six full possessions but were shut out after that.
“I don’t know what changed,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “I just think a couple of guys had chances to make plays and just didn’t make them.”
Baylor: Yes, the Bears won. But concerns that Baylor’s tumultuous offseason would eventually catch up to the program will only deepen after its first league road game. Its defense looked lost for 45 minutes, and the passing game was subpar without Cannon. The Bears should get credit, though, for making the plays it needed to make in the fourth quarter.
Iowa State: The Cyclones, who looked good in beating San Jose State by 34 points, were the better team for three quarters. But Iowa State’s disturbing habit of collapsing in the fourth was apparent yet again. The Cyclones had eight yards on six plays in the final 15 minutes. “Our defense stepped up big,” Russell said.
Iowa State didn’t punt until the late in the third quarter. But Baylor’s defense, which held its opponents to 13.5 points per game in September, forced a pair of three-and-outs. The Bears turned those stops into the final 10 points of the game.
NO QB SHUFFLE
The Cyclones had rotated Lanning with backup Jacob Park the last few games. But Lanning was so good early on that Park never left the bench. He finished with arguably his best game for the Cyclones — a positive sign for a program focused more on progress than anything else in 2016. “Joel got into a good rhythm and (I) just didn’t feel like it was fair to pull him,” Campbell said.
A three-point road victory over an Iowa State team that lost to Iowa and TCU by an average of 30 points likely won’t impress too many voters.
HE SAID IT
“That’s the Shock Linwood everyone told me about,” Baylor interim coach Jim Grobe said. Linwood had just two carries for four yards last week.
Baylor: The Bears, after a bye week, host Kansas on Oct. 15 in what could be one of the most lopsided matchups in the history of the Big 12. Baylor was a 46-point road favorite against the Jayhawks last year and covered with room to spare, beating Kansas 66-7 despite playing its backups for much of the second half.
Iowa State: The Cyclones travel to face Oklahoma State in the second game of a brutal stretch. Iowa State plays at Texas the following week and, after a bye, hosts Kansas State and Oklahoma.