MONDAY MUSINGS: On beating Baylor, a showdown vs. Texas and men’s basketball

Nov 10, 2018; Ames, IA, USA; Baylor Bears linebacker Jordan Williams (38) tackles Iowa State Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy (15) at Jack Trice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

So many topics to hit on today.  I’ll start with Iowa State’s 28-14 football victory over Baylor, the fight, and what’s next for the Cyclones. 

1 – The Baylor game went exactly as I expected it would. In fact, my pregame score prediction was 27-13, good guys, so I was only a couple of points off from calling it exactly. Not trying to brag, but merely pointing out that I wasn’t surprised when Matt Campbell elected to just get out of there with a win and not gain style points late in that football game. 

2 – This was especially the case following the fight. Like all of you, I’ve watched what went down in the third quarter multiple times and carefully studied what each team had to say following the fracas. 

My account as to what went down:

— Baylor player takes cheap shot at David Montgomery on sideline. Flag is thrown for late hit. 

— Naturally, since this happened on Iowa State’s sideline, the Cyclones went to the defense of their fallen captain.

— Baylor players – specifically 3 and 13 – think, “We gotta go save our guy.” Emotions flare as they run to the Iowa State sideline. All is fair. Nobody deserved to be thrown out at this point.

— If you were watching closely – the next three or four plays were a clear indication that more was going to go down. This thing was far from over. Hakeem Butler and 21 had been going at each other hard during that time. 

— Then 52 jumps on the ref and swings at Montgomery. His natural response is to go back. 

3 – My greater point is that in their own minds, both teams thought that they were in the right. The Baylor guys thought that the Iowa State guys were bullying them on that sideline play as it was like 100 dudes to three. So that got them fired up. Then the Iowa State guys thought that Baylor was taking cheap shots (which they were) and the Cyclones were amped up too. 

This was never going to end well. 

4 – Onto this Saturday, where the Cyclones are 3-point underdogs to Texas in one of the biggest games in program history. 

Texas nearly suffered an inconceivable collapse at the hands of Texas Tech last Saturday night. 

The Longhorns, led by former Iowa State offensive coordinator Tom Herman, are staring at a handful of distractions heading into Saturday, specifically when it comes to Twitter, their head coach and former Ohio State assistant Zach Smith. 

5 – Football wise, here’s how I see this matchup on early Monday morning. 

There is a lot to like about how the Cyclones match up but I am slightly concerned about a few aspects of Iowa State’s defense vs. the Texas offense. 

Specifically, Texas’ two stud wide receivers – Lil’ Jordan Humphrey and Collin Johnson – are 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-6 respectively. Iowa State has recently struggled defending the side opposite of Brian Peavy. Will the Cyclones move D’Andre Payne back to corner? Will Datrone Young be in the mix? Stay tuned. 

I wish, wish, wish, that Enyi Uwazurike was healthy. Matt Leo and Co. has done fine filling in for No. 50 but things haven’t been the same. Iowa State’s defense has given up more yards on the edge since Uwazurike went down and it’s become much more difficult for the Cyclones to get pressure on the quarterback rushing three and dropping eight. 

Having said all of that, Iowa State is still a relatively healthy football team for this point in the season and I fully trust that Jon Heacock will have a solid plan for the Longhorns.

6 – Last season’s game between these two teams was a defensive struggle. 

I see this one going the opposite direction and being a higher scoring affair. Surprisingly, Texas’ defense has not been good over the last month. In fact, the Longhorns have given up 7.7 and 7.3 yards per play in their last two games to West Virginia and Texas Tech. For comparison, Iowa State gave up 3.6 and 4.5 yards per play to those same teams in the month of October. 

7 – Where are you watching the game?

You’re welcome to join us at Whiskey River in Ankeny, which does have the Longhorn Network. 

I get why fans are annoyed about this. It’s one of the biggest games in Iowa State football history and you have to watch it on the other team’s own network. 

That sucks. 

8 – Let’s hash out some Big 12 championship game scenarios. 

Max Olson from The Athletic did a great job of putting this chart together for fans. 

Quickly though, here are the most likely scenarios that fans need to know:

— Iowa State has to win out. Obviously. 

— If West Virginia loses to either Oklahoma State or Oklahoma, Iowa State is in. 

— If somehow West Virginia would lose to Oklahoma State and then beat Oklahoma, there would be a three way tie. The tiebreaker would then drop to record vs. the fourth place team (Texas). Iowa State and West Virginia both beat Texas and would play in the championship game. 

Make sense? 

9 – We’ve got a sneaky important men’s basketball game to keep track of tonight in Hilton Coliseum. 

Minus Lindell Wigginton and with only eight eligible players, Iowa State surprised a lot of people on Friday night via a convincing victory over Missouri. Hilton was hopping and it was impossible not to be juiced up for a big game vs. a former Big 8 rival. 

Tonight is a real test for Steve Prohm’s young team. 

Texas Southern was routed by Gonzaga on Saturday night but went into Waco and defeated Baylor last Tuesday. 

Jared Stansbury has a complete preview of the game here. 

The greater point is that it’s more difficult for a young team to get up for a low-major team on a sleepy Monday in Ames compared to last Friday when the crowd provided the energy.

Tonight’s game is a real test leading up to next week’s Maui Invitational. 

I am anxious to see if the Cyclones pass this one as easily as they did the last.