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Baylor Runs Past Iowa State
October 08, 2011
By Wendell Barnhouse | Correspondent

WACO, Texas - Hangover cures come in many forms. For a football team, there's a simple tried and true recipe.

Run the football. Make some defensive stops. Create some breaks.

Baylor was coming off a gut-punch of a loss at Kansas State, a game the Bears led by nine points going into the fourth quarter. It was the kind of defeat that a team can't afford to let bleed over into the next game - don't let one loss beat you twice.

After a sputtering start, Baylor became clear headed and healthy. The Bears spotted Iowa State a 14-7 lead before taking control for a 49-26 victory Saturday night. Baylor improved to 5-1 and evened its Big 12 record at 1-1. The Cyclones dropped to 3-2 and are 0-2 in Big 12 play.

Not only did Baylor prove that it could bounce back from a difficult defeat, it also proved that its offense is not a one-man band. Robert Griffin III didn't have to post statistics that would wear out a solar-powered calculator. The Bears' running game, which was a no-show last week, provided the kind of boost teenagers get from energy drinks.

RG3 gave way to TG200. Senior running back Terrance Ganaway gashed the middle of the Iowa State defense for a career-high 200 yards and three touchdownson 23 carries.

"The holes were about as big as this room," Gannaway said in the Baylor interview room, which is about 15 yards wide. "We've got a big offensive line, they're really big and really physical. I was really ready to play. I couldn't eat or sleep (Friday) night."

Iowa State's defense is designed to limit big plays. The Cyclones give yards grudingly and force opposing offenses to slog their way down field. That's not the Baylor Way. The Bears love the quick-strike drive, with Griffin throwing zippy spirals to streaking receivers.

Faced with that defensive scheme, Baylor quickly realized that Game Six would not be like the first five that saw Griffin average over 30 yards for his 18 touchdown passes.

"They were not going to let us throw deep," said Griffin, who completed 22-of-30 passes for 212 yards and also gained 107 yards rushing. "We tried a few times early but it wasn't there. So, we had to run it and the offensive line and Ganaway did a great job. I'm not about statistics. Winning makes me happy."

Griffin's coach was happy. A week after gaining just 83 yards rushing against Kansas State, the Bears prowled for 391 yards rushing on 67 attempts. Baylor's 603 yards of total offense was compiled the old-fashioned way.

"Earlier games we had, we could just be happy about winning," Art Briles said. "This game tonight, we had to win. That's a tough position to be in. To get that victory says a lot about this football team. We had some bad things happen early and we didn't let that bother us."

Baylor's first possession ended with a punt, though the Bears successfully converted on a fake punt. That play was wiped out by a Baylor timeout called before the snap. Iowa State quickly scored a touchdown - its first points in the first quarter this season - to take a 7-0 lead. The Bears had two drives in ISU territory end with fumbles.

"In football, you've got to have a short memory," Ganaway said. "If you put it on the ground keep playing. The fumble helped motivate me. It was a bad thing that turned good."

Iowa State quarterback Steele Jantz is like the little girl with the curl. When's good, he can be very good - great decisions on the zone read, scrambles against pressure, 40-yard passes on the money. When he's bad, he can be ... well - sacks, missing open receivers and game-turning turnovers.

After Ganaway's 3-yard touchdown gave the Bears a 28-14 lead midway through the third quarter, Iowa State responded when Jantz found Darius Reynolds (seven receptions, 178 yards, two touchdowns) up the left sideline for 56 yards. The Cyclones were poised to make it a one-possession game but Baylor's Gary Mason Jr. chased down the scrambling Jantz and forced a fumble inside the Baylor 5.

The ball bounced toward the Iowa State goal line and defensive end Tevin Elliott scooped and scored on an 86-yard return.

"I haven't ran like that since high school," he said. "That was really fun. Mason chased him down and forced the fumble and I was like, 'Oh, there's the ball.' A monkey jumped on my back about halfway, though."

That monkey is now on Iowa State's back. The Cyclones have lost consecutive Big 12 games, allowing 86 points. The Cyclones play at Missouri Saturday. The Tigers are 2-3 and 0-2 after Saturday's loss at Kansas State.

"This is one of those games and weeks that tests a team," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. "This will be a pivotal week for our football team."

Baylor knows all about it.

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