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FIRST LOOK: Iowa State Cyclones

All hail the return of the Five Questions!

MATCHUP: #9 Baylor Bears (2-1, 0-0) vs. Iowa State Cyclones (3-0, 0-0)
LOCATION: Ames, Iowa
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears at Iowa State Cyclones 2022
OPPONENT’S SB NATION BLOG: Wide Right Natty Lite (WRNL)
ODB QUICK HITTER: ISU.
COLLEGEFOOTBALLDATA.COM TEAM PAGES: Baylor | Iowa State
WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE: ISU
GAME NOTES (INCLUDING DEPTH CHART): ISU.
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: ISU.
SPREAD: ISU -2.5 (opened at Baylor -2 on Sunday), O/U 45
TV COVERAGE: ESPN2, 11:00 AM CT
UNIFORM: DON’T KNOW YET, CHECK BACK.

IOWA STATE’S HYPE VIDEO (not really):

I don’t know if many people are aware of this, but our own David Fankhauser (co-host of the ODP) made the trip to Provo for the BYU game, as well. The pleasant, even giving, nature of the BYU fans apparently made such an impression on Fank on that he decided to give back to this week’s opponent, ISU, by making them a hype video. What a guy!

WEATHER (IN AMES):

According to Wunderground.com, this should be the prettiest day of football we’ve seen yet for an 11 AM kick and a vast difference than last week’s game against Texas State. By game time the temperature should be around 67 degrees freedom units, with light winds from the north. By the time the game ends, temperatures will be in the mid-70s.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Baylor is sitting at 2-1, 0-0 in conference after last week’s win over Texas State, while Iowa State is undefeated after three games.

Baylor 2022 Schedule

G Date Day School Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
G Date Day School Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
1 3-Sep-22 Sat (10) Baylor Albany Non-Major 69 10 1 0 W 1
2 10-Sep-22 Sat (9) Baylor (21) BYU Ind 20 26 1 1 L 1
3 17-Sep-22 Sat (17) Baylor Texas State Sun Belt 42 7 2 1 W 1

Iowa State 2022 Schedule

G Date Day School Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
G Date Day School Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
1 3-Sep-22 Sat Iowa State Southeast Missouri State Non-Major 42 10 1 0 W 1
2 10-Sep-22 Sat Iowa State Iowa Big Ten 10 7 2 0 W 2
3 17-Sep-22 Sat Iowa State Ohio MAC 43 10 3 0 W 3

Iowa State’s story so far has been one of defense. According to SharpCollegeFootball.com’s defensive rankings (you have to sort to just 2022, which is annoying), ISU has the #5 defense in the country so far this season against an admittedly somewhat weak schedule. Their biggest strength (again, according to Sharp) has been in limiting explosive plays, but they are also get a ton of negative plays. F+ from FootballOutsiders.com agrees (although not as emphatically), ranking ISU’s defense #22 in the country. FEI is more in line with Sharp, ranking Iowa State #9 in defense, #4 in defensive drive efficiency, and #7 in value drive rate (the percentage of drives that end better than you would expect based on starting field position). CollegeFootballData.com also agrees (link above, choose 2022 from the drop-down), particularly with respect to rush defense, This is a good ISU defense, is what I’m saying.

The same does not appear to be true with respect to their offense, but I’ll admit the rankings are all over the map. Their offense is ranked 76th by Sharp, 43rd by F+, and #27 by FEI (which does not make any sense given the other rankings but appears to be heavily boosted by having played Iowa, which is #3 in defense per FEI). Still, there are people to know on that side.

PLAYERS TO KNOW:

#8 WR Xavier Hutchinson—Set an ISU record with 83 receptions last season and is their leading receiver (by a lot) with 28 catches for 319 yards and 5 TDs so far this year. In fact, he’s the only ISU WR with more than 100 yards receiving so far this year. We may not face a better WR in conference play this season than Hutchinson. He leads the Big 12 in receptions, yards, and receiving TDs. Expect to hear his name called early and often on the broadcast.

#12 QB Hunter Dekkers—Leads the Big 12 in pass completions this season with 78 on 105 attempts for a 74.3% completion percentage. Obviously, Dekkers took over the job from Brock Purdy, who had to leave ISU due to eligibility limitations, possibly against his will. This will be his fourth start of his career.

#21 RB Jirehl Brock—Gone is Breece Hall, here is Jirehl Brock, the #4 rusher in the Big 12 with 280 yards on 50 carries for 5.6 yards/carry. This will be Brock’s sixth career start, and he is listed at 6-0, 220 pounds.

#9 DE Will McDonald IV—Leads the country in career sacks (by an active player) with 30 and is ISU’s starting LEO. He had 11.5 sacks last season and just 1 this year, but he’s one of the best pass rushers in the country, and we need to be aware of him. Was a preseason All-American by a few publications.

#4 SLB Colby Reeder—Tied for the Big 12 lead in interceptions and was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after the Iowa game on September 10. Plays linebacker for the Cyclones and is #2 on the team in tackles. He is in his first season at ISU but his seventh overall in CFB, having started his career at Delaware and played four seasons there (redshirting one and missing another with injury).

INJURY NEWS:

I didn’t have time to pull together an update on the Depth Chart yesterday (and, frankly, it would have been pretty useless because it appears to be more or less identical to previous weeks, which is a bit of a trend), but we did get some injury updates from Coach Aranda in his press conference.

  • TE Ben Sims—Aranda is “hopeful” that he can return for ISU.
  • WR Monaray Baldwin—Ditto for Baldwin.
  • RB Taye McWilliams—Likely out for ISU.
  • DE Cole Maxwell—Ditto for Maxwell.
  • OL Khalil Keith—Ditto for him, too. I wasn’t aware of any speculation that he might return for this one, so it was somewhat weird to hear his name come up.

Sims and Baldwin will be big additions if they can return for this one, particularly Sims. He’s a strong blocker and will make a difference against ISU’s front seven. I will look for additional info on ISU’s injury situation.

ADVANCED STATS OVERVIEW:

Baylor vs. Iowa State F+

Rk Team F+ OF+ Rk DF+ Rk FEI Rk SP+ Rk
Rk Team F+ OF+ Rk DF+ Rk FEI Rk SP+ Rk
25 Baylor 0.98 0.47 47 1.31 11 0.43 25 15.9 22
27 Iowa State 0.88 0.59 43 1 22 0.6 11 8.8 43

I think you got a feel for this up above, but FEI really likes ISU this season.

Baylor vs. Iowa State FEI

Rk Team FEI OFEI Rk DFEI Rk NDE Rk ELS Rk GLS Rk ALS Rk
Rk Team FEI OFEI Rk DFEI Rk NDE Rk ELS Rk GLS Rk ALS Rk
11 Iowa State 0.6 0.55 27 0.71 9 0.49 51 0.1 32 0.44 34 0.84 56
25 Baylor 0.43 0.31 45 0.61 17 -0.46 77 0.07 44 0.36 46 0.78 64

SP+ doesn’t quite agree, ranking ISU 37th (54th in offense, 26th in defense) and Baylor 25th (53rd in offense, 12th in defense), but it’s worth noting that virtually all of the advanced stats (so far as I am aware) have some element of preseason rankings/projections in them still. Suffice to say that it should be a defensive struggle, as evidenced by the O/U of just 45. Imagine telling yourself a few years ago that a Big 12 game between these two teams would have a O/U of 45!

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING:

FIVE QUESTIONS (for you, the Baylor fan):

One of the staples of our First Look posts in years past was a Five Questions section where we would ask you to weigh in in the comments with your answers. We’re bringing that back.

  1. What questions do you have about ISU that we can ask WRNL in a Q&A exchange we’ll be doing with them later this week?
  2. What uniform do you want to see Baylor throw out there against ISU? I’ll admit I’m partial to the idea of a gold/white/gold. Saw that on Twitter somewhere.
  3. Who do you think leads Baylor in rushing this week, and how many yards will they have?
  4. Is playing at 11 AM in Ames good or bad (versus playing later in the day)?
  5. On a scale of 1-10, how are you feeling about this week’s game, 10 being “we’re gonna crush ‘em,” and 1 being “I don’t feel so good, Mr. Stark.”

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