No. 17 Baylor holds off Iowa State in Big 12 opener
Des Moines Register-USA TODAY Sports

No. 17 Baylor surged to a 31-14 lead, then held off a late Iowa State rally to score a 31-24 win in the Big 12 Conference opener for both teams in Ames, Iowa.

The Bears (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) dominated the initial 20 minutes of the second half with Christian Morgan and Devin Neal snagging interceptions of Cyclones quarterback Hunter Dekkers on two of Iowa State's first four possessions in the second half. Baylor forced punts on the other two possessions.

Baylor's offense, meanwhile, pushed the lead to three scores when Richard Reese capped a 93-yard Bears drive with a 19-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Blake Shapen found Gavin Holmes on a 38-yard scoring strike in the fourth quarter.

Shapen went 19-of-26 passing for 238 yards with three touchdowns spread to three receivers. Ben Sims scored on a 12-yard catch in the first quarter and Shapen found Dillon Doyle for a goal-line score in the second quarter.

Iowa State (3-1, 0-1) cut into the deficit, scoring the first points the Baylor defense allowed in a fourth quarter this season when Jirehl Brock's 37-yard run ending on a fumble near the goal line was called a touchdown upon review.

The Cyclones defense forced a quick punt, and Dekkers' 50-yard connection with Jaylin Noel on a third-and-7 deep in Iowa State territory led to a 28-yard Jace Gilbert field goal with 55 seconds left.

Baylor recovered Iowa State's ensuing onside-kick attempt to snuff the comeback attempt and preserve the Bears' first win in Ames since 2016.

Dekkers finished 23-of-36 for 284 yards with the two picks and two touchdowns. He found Dimitri Stanley for a touchdown just before halftime to pull the Cyclones to within three points by intermission. Noel caught seven passes for a game-high 120 yards.

Holmes finished with 92 yards on three receptions for Baylor. Bryson Jackson recorded two sacks for the Bears defense.

This article first appeared on Field Level Media and was syndicated with permission.

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