If OSU gave teams the blueprint for how to beat Baylor by chewing up clock and challenging the Bears up front but couldn't finish the job, the Cyclones figured out how to put that plan to work in the first half. After averaging something like 120 yards per quarter going in, ISU put up almost 320 yards of offense on Baylor through 30 minutes, more than 150 of which came on the ground. Mike Warren, the player I feared most going in, has 19 carries for 101 yards at the half, and Joel Lanning is 12/13 for 164 yards and 1 TD so far.
The problem, so much as there is only one, is that we're just not getting negative plays on defense. ISU's offensive line has completely taken over the game on that side, displacing our line time after time and guaranteeing at least 3 or 4 yards, even on the plays we handle well. Baylor, which was among the national leaders in tackles for loss coming in, has (I think) zero so far through 30 minutes of play, and will have to make big adjustments at the half if we want that to change.
Basically, aside from the penalties, this was just about a perfect first half for ISU offensively and a complete nightmare for Baylor. ISU has exposed our 3-4 front repeatedly, and we've seen no answer yet. If the Bears are going to turn this one around, we will have to, first and foremost, stop the run. We haven't done that at all yet.
If there is a bright spot so far, it's been the return of Shock Linwood with a vengeance. After Grobe basically subtweeted him this week in the media by talking about how good Terence Williams and JaMycal Hasty have been, Linwood came into the game midway through the first quarter and put up more than 100 yards of his own in the first half, including a 59-yarder where he broke about a half-dozen tackles.
The story of the second half is going to be told on the defensive side, where got to figure out how to get ISU off the field on one of their drives. So far, they've had the ball four times and scored four TDs. That has to change.
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