No. 17 Iowa State hopes to run against Baylor
Breece Hall is a major reason why No. 17 Iowa State shares the lead in the Big 12. The sophomore running back could be in for another big game against a Baylor squad that has struggled to stop the run.
Hall and the Cyclones (4-2, 4-1 Big 12) look to hand the Bears (1-3, 1-3) a fourth straight defeat on Saturday night in Ames, Iowa.
Hall has turned plenty of heads in 2020, as he sits second in the nation with 901 rushing yards and 150.2 per contest. He also is tied for second in the country with 11 rushing touchdowns after scoring nine TDs and gaining 897 all last season.
In a 52-22 rout of Kansas of last weekend, Hall posted his second consecutive 185-yard rushing contest and scored two touchdowns. While Hall’s effort has helped propel Iowa State to success, coach Matt Campbell believes the best is still ahead for his budding star.
“He’s really special,” Campbell told the Cyclone Radio Network. “And, I hate to say this, but there are still so many little things that he can improve. What I do appreciate about Breece is he accepts being challenged. What’s going to be fun is when he puts all those things together.
“What we’ve seen so far is really special, but he can be really elite.”
Hall would seem to have a good chance at recording his seventh straight 100-yard rushing game against a Baylor defense that ranks ninth in the 10-team conference in rush defense, allowing 177.3 per game. The Bears gave up 247 yards on the ground last weekend during a 33-23 home loss to TCU.
“There is quite a bit of work (we need) on just (being) lined up and making sure that our eyes are on the right stuff,” first-year Baylor coach Dave Aranda said of his team looking to end a three-game skid while facing one of the better squads in the country.
In addition to their run struggles, the Bears have averaged just 20 points during the skid. That’s due in part to the inconsistent play of senior quarterback Charlie Brewer.
After throwing for more than 3,000 yards in each of the past two seasons, Brewer has not thrown for more than 256 in any game while completing a career-low 60.3 percent of his passes this year. He has thrown eight touchdown passes and three interceptions while getting sacked 13 times.
All that said, Aranda believes Brewer is still capable of successfully leading his team.
“His confidence is there,” Aranda said. “His want to perform at a real high level for the offense and his teammates is very high.”
Brewer and the Bears face a serious challenge against the Cyclones, who have allowed an average of 20.3 points in the past three games after yielding 31.7 over the first three. Led by star linebacker JaQuan Bailey (school-record 23 1/2 career sacks), Iowa State’s defense has recorded 18 sacks. Bailey has posted five of those sacks and 11 tackles for loss.
The Cyclones had won two straight over Baylor before losing 23-21 last season in Waco.
–Field Level Media