WACO, Texas (AP) — Hakeem Butler made an over-the-shoulder catch and then broke away from two defenders for an Iowa State touchdown.
Butler’s highlight 67-yard catch-and-run score on a pass from freshman Zeb Noland just before halftime put the Cyclones ahead to stay, and they clinched a winning conference record for the first time since 2000 with their 23-13 victory at Baylor on Saturday.
While Matt Campbell wasn’t ready yet to talk about what the winning conference mark means for Iowa State (7-4, 5-3 Big 12), he was certainly impressed by that big play that broke a 10-all tie.
“Wow, I saw it right in front of me,” Campbell said. “My goodness, that kid is really special. … That was a huge momentum swing for us, especially going into halftime.”
Baylor (1-10, 1-7) played its home finale in coach Matt Rhule’s first season. The Bears have started 11 true freshmen, including quarterback Charlie Brewer.
Allen Lazard became the career receiving leader for Iowa State with his 36-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. Lazard had entered the game 26 yards short of Todd Bylthe’s school record 3,096 yards receiving set 10 years earlier.
“The way I did it, catching a touchdown pass from I think my fourth different QB I’ve had, to break it in that fashion was something special and a huge honor,” said Lazard, who has 25 career TD catches. “Hopefully somebody soon down the road breaks it again.”
The Cyclones snapped a two-game losing streak that had followed a perfect 4-0 October in which they became the only team this season with two wins over top-five opponents. They will play in their first bowl game since 2012.
Iowa St: The Cyclones defense stood out like it has through Big 12 play. Baylor was the seventh conference opponent they held at least 10 points below their season average. And they keep holding onto the ball on offense. Iowa State still doesn’t have a lost fumble, something no FBS team has ever done over an entire season.
Baylor: In what was expected to be a tough season, Baylor has lost 10 games for the first time since going 1-10 in 1999. When Iowa State visited Waco two years ago, the Bears were No. 2 in the country and coming off back-to-back Big 12 titles. That was before the sexual assault scandal that led to coach Art Briles being fired the following spring.
RED ZONE TURNOVERS
The Bears were down only 20-13 and had first-and-goal from the Iowa State 2 in the first minute of the fourth quarter when freshman running back John Lovett fumbled. The Cyclones had added a field goal before Baylor got to the 25 and Brewer threw an interception.
“I think what you’ll see is those are two freshmen doing a lot of great things,” Rhule said. “But as they grow, that will be experience they’ll pass on to everybody else.”
David Montgomery ran for 144 yards rushing on 27 carries, going over 1,000 yards for the season, but the Iowa State sophomore had to be helped off the field after a run in the fourth quarter when he got bent in a weird direction.
Campbell said X-rays on Montgomery’s ankle were negative.
“If I know David, he’ll be ready to roll,” Campbell said. “No breaks, no strains, no anything like that.”
Baylor senior linebacker Taylor Young left the game before halftime with a quad injury, and Rhule said it will also keep him from playing in the season finale.
“It was pretty serious,” Rhule said. “That was certainly a big blow to our defense. Just personally a big blow. I think I’ve spoken about how I feel about him. And not to see him finish out playing that game was disappointing just because of everything he’s meant to the program.”
Iowa St: The Cyclones go to Kansas State next Saturday in a matchup of bowl-bound teams.
Baylor: The Bears wrap up Rhule’s first season Friday at No. 11 TCU.
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