Football

Baylor, 2013: “Burn the tape”

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AMES — Forget that film.

 Bury it, let dust smother it, consign it to ancient history.

 That’s essentially the approach ISU has taken to last season’s 71-7 loss at Baylor.

 All digital remnants of that debacle have been digested, archived and fully forgotten. 

 And that’s obviously a wise choice — given how much things have changed, from the coaching staff to prevailing attitudes, entering Saturday’s 7:20 p.m. matchup (FOX) with the No. 6 Bears at Jack Trice Stadium.

 “It was ugly,” said Cyclone quarterback Sam Richardson, who completed 7 of 14 passes for 68 yards and an interception in that game before Grant Rohach replaced him. “I try not to remember most of it. It was an opportunity that we had — an opportunity that we blew. It’s something that we haven’t, I mean we haven’t really watched much of it.”

*** Depth chart update; injury report ***

 Why rehash the past?

 ISU (1-2) is currently riding high after a comeback 20-17 win at Iowa two Saturday’s ago.

 The loaded Bears (3-0) opened as 22 1/2-point favorites this week — and feature the nation’s top offense along with a top-three defense.

“It’s a team that averages 60 points a game and they’re only giving up nine points a game,” said Cyclone coach Paul Rhoads, whose team upset Baylor 35-21 in the last meeting in Ames. “We look forward to entertaining them.”

 Rhoads called Bears quarterback Bryce Petty the “Heisman front-runner.” He also dubbed him the best quarterback Baylor coach Art Briles has fielded since taking the program from the depths of the Big 12 to the top — and that’s, of course, saying something, given the career Robert Griffin III constructed in Waco.

 “He’s that tremendous of a football player,” Rhoads said. “When you’re facing elite players like this as eel las an elite team, it should bring out the best in you. And you’ve got to play your best in order to have a chance to compete.”

 Richardson’s doing just that.

 Rhoads said after each of the first three games this season that he’d played his best 60 minutes in a Cyclone uniform.

 For that to happen Saturday night, he’ll have to dissect that highly-rated defense with surgical precision.

 Baylor has outscored its first three opponents 115-3 in the first half — and its the latter number that should command the most scrutiny.

 “They play with confidence,” said Richardson, who threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns in the win against the Hawkeyes. “It’s something I could see, which I’m sure is not difficult to do being up in the games so much. They’re winning almost all the time, so it’s easy for a defense to go out there and play confident. They’re not afraid to give up a big play here and there. I think that’s he main thing. Their stout on the D-line, with most of their guys coming back there. It’s just a confident defense.”

 So is ISU’s.

 The Cyclones have shown measurable improvement on that side of the ball since opening with a 34-14 home loss to three time-defending FCS champ North Dakota State.

 But the Bears’ offense present a challenge unmatched in the college game.

 Run with Shock Linwood?

 Pass to Petty’s vast array of speedy receivers?

 Deep routes?

 Screens?

 Danger pulses within all of them. 

 “For them, a 3-yard pass can become one of those explosive plays that we’re talking about — one of those big plays that you’re trying to defend,” Rhoads said. “And you could argue that you were defending against the big play in the process. So getting as many people to finish plays is going to be important, not making this a game of one-on-one tackles and one-on-one battles.”

 All of that knowledge comes from current film.

 So trash the old, study the new.

 “To me, the past is the past,” senior center and captain Tom Farniok said of last year’s meeting. “It’s just kind of one of those you just burn the tape and move on from, because if it could have went wrong, it did.”

 TV TIME: ISU’s Oct. 4 game at Oklahoma State will kick off at 11 a.m. It will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

 POINT(S) TAKEN: Rhoads was asked Monday how many points he feels the Cyclones need to score Saturday against the Bears. “Oh, I’d take 72,” he deadpanned. “A lot. You’ve got to score in this league, but against this particular team, yeah, you’ve got to score points.”

Rob Gray

administrator

Rob, an Ames native, joined Cyclone Fanatic in August, 2014 after nearly a decade and a half of working at Iowa's two largest newspapers. He spent 10 years at the Des Moines Register and, after a brief stint in public relations, joined the Cedar Rapids Gazette as an Iowa State correspondent three years ago.