WACO, Texas – Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said his defense was just a little bit off with its detail early in Saturday’s game against Baylor.
The Bears took full advantage with a fast start, then held on as their special teams and defense handled the rest.
Gerry Bohanon threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and Baylor stopped a two-point try with 24 seconds left to beat No. 14 Iowa State 31-29 on Saturday.
Breece Hall ran for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries for Iowa State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) and caught five passes for 51 yards, including a 16-yard score in the final minute that was followed by a failed two-point try.
On the two-point conversion, Brock Purdy went under center after spending most of the day in shotgun and bobbled the snap. That was enough to throw off the play’s timing, and Purdy was forced to throw a jump ball that was intercepted by Baylor’s JT Woods.
“It was supposed to be a play-action, and we felt like it would work knowing that I demand so much attention,” Hall said. “It was a bobbled snap, so Brock got out there late. He couldn’t get around the edge defender, so he had to throw it up and hope for the best. It just didn’t work out.”
The Bears recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock for their first win over a ranked opponent since they beat North Carolina in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl.
“It was a team win,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said. “The guys (were) gritting out stuff and not allowing stuff to happen. It’s way cool to be on that side of it.”
Hall’s two rushing touchdowns give him the school record with 39 for his career, breaking the mark set by Troy Davis (1994-96) and Dexter Green (1975-78). It was Hall’s 16th straight game with a rushing touchdown, which snapped a tie for the Big 12 record he shared with former Missouri quarterback Corby Jones (1997-98).
The Bears (4-0, 2-0) scored touchdowns on their first three possessions against an Iowa State defense that entered No. 1 in the nation allowing 194 yards per game and never trailed again.
Bohannon finished 14 for 19 for 164 yards and rushed for 36 yards.
Treston Ebner returned a kickoff 98 yards for Baylor’s only touchdown of the second half with 6:59 left in the third quarter.
Brock Purdy was 22 for 33 for 263 yards and a touchdown. He was also intercepted once, stopping a drive at the Baylor 22 with 11:55 left in the game.
Baylor: The Bears had already have doubled their win total from 2020 but were heavy favorites against Texas State, Texas Southern and Kansas. Baylor was an underdog Saturday and was outgained by Iowa State 469-284. But the Bears won with special teams and a bend-but-don’t-break defense.
Iowa State: Hall lived up to his billing, but the Cyclones couldn’t finish drives. Outside of their two touchdown marches, they managed nine points on five trips to or inside the Baylor 30. Iowa State held the ball for 35:53, went 3 for 3 on fourth down to make up for a 5-for-14 day on third down.
THIRD PHASE HUGE FOR BAYLOR
Baylor made up for its lack of offensive output in the last three quarters on special teams.
In addition to Ebner’s kickoff return for a touchdown, he had a 41-yard punt return that set Baylor up at the Iowa State 17 and resulted in a 34-yard field goal with 5:36 left in the game.
“We talked about special teams being a big factor in this game,” Aranda said. “We’ll go through about seven things every game. The kicking game was a major one in this one. We wanted to show our ability to be electric. I’m glad (Ebner) was able to follow through with that for us.”
Al Walcott partially blocked a punt in the first quarter that set up Baylor’s second touchdown, and the four punts from Isaac Power averaged 54.5 yards. One of those was muffed by Iowa State and Baylor had a clean shot at a recovery before Iowa State saved what would have been another disastrous play.
Iowa State was ranked No. 7 in the preseason poll but will likely fall out of the Top 25 with their second loss. Baylor should begin to receive votes.
Iowa State will return home to meet Kansas on Oct. 2.
Baylor will go on the road to meet Oklahoma State on Oct. 2.
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