In a game featuring a combination of high profiled offenses and some of the Big 12’s best defenses, one turnover could make all the difference.
In the case of Iowa State and Baylor, seven costly turnovers between the Cyclones and the Bears decided the outcome of the game. Some kept teams in the game and some cemented victory.
As the clock ticked down to zero leading to halftime and both teams made their way into their respective locker rooms, Purdy’s interception counter and half of his completed passes were identical. Purdy threw three first half interceptions as compared to his six completed passes.
And each interception forced Iowa State deeper into a hole that it had to claw its way out of.
“I think you’re playing a championship caliber defense,” Head Coach Matt Campbell said. “A defense that I was really impressed with on the film and tip your hat to [Baylor], they made some plays, we weren’t great early.”
On the very first drive of the game, Purdy stepped up and fired it deep down the field, intending for a massive gain from a Joe Scates reception. Instead, Baylor’s Kalon Barnes came down on Baylor’s 11 yard line with the first of its three first half interceptions.
The ensuing Baylor drive following Barnes’ interception saw the Bears, led by senior quarterback Charlie Brewer, drive all the way down field to cap off it’s first drive with a 9 yard touchdown completion from Brewer to R.J. Sneed.
During Iowa State’s following drive, Purdy led the Cyclones down the field before throwing a ball that was just out of reach for tight end Chase Allen, which was tipped by Allen into the hands of Baylor’s Raleigh Texada, who returned the ball 56 yards to Iowa State’s 36 yard line.
Brewer responded to Purdy’s second interception by finding Drake Dabney in Iowa State’s end zone for a 9 yard touchdown pass, putting Baylor up by two scores.
Purdy closed out a nightmare of a first half in the second quarter after throwing the ball under extreme pressure, which was intercepted by Baylor’s Jalen Pitre, who went untouched for a 30 yard pick six.
“First half, I was just trying to force too many balls to our guys that were open, but I was just trying to do too much,” Purdy said.
Starting the second half, Iowa State’s defense came out and forced Baylor to punt on its first drive of the second half, however the ball was bounced off the hands of Greg Eiworth and was recovered by Baylor in Iowa State territory.
Despite favorable position, the Cyclone defense held Baylor to a field goal. However, the Baylor field goal marked 24 consecutive points scored off of Iowa State turnovers.
This isn’t to say that Iowa State didn’t benefit from turnovers. In fact, turnovers is what sealed the Cyclones’ comeback victory over Baylor.
Redshirt sophomore Tayvonn Kyle recorded a first half interception that lined Iowa State up to score its first touchdown of the game in the form of a 14 yard rushing touchdown by Breece Hall.
Two of the biggest turnovers of the game came during the fourth quarter that led to Iowa State putting the dagger in Baylor and sealing its fifth victory of the season.
Already up by one score, Iowa State’s defense held Baylor to a punt. On the punt, Baylor’s punter was forced to hold off kicking the ball in order to avoid a blocked punt, but ended up being blocked on his second punt attempt by Iowa State redshirt senior Landen Akers.
“It meant a lot for me,” Akers said. “I’ve been meaning to block a punt my whole career. It’s finally come down to my fifth year and I was able to make that big play for us, create that momentum.”
The first play after the blocked punt by Akers saw Purdy connect with Breece Hall for an 11 yard touchdown, which proved to be the score that led Iowa State to victory in a game that ended in a one score difference.
Baylor had an opportunity to drive down the field and tie the game back up. In a drive that needed to end with a Baylor score, Brewer and the Bears offense started to drive down the field.
On a 2nd and 7 from Iowa State's 14 yard line, Brewer sent a ball into the end zone to tie the game with just under a minute left in the game. The pass ended up in the hands of Iowa State junior linebacker Mike Rose.
The late turnover by Baylor’s senior quarterback proved to be the last costly turnover that sealed Iowa State’s victory.
“Emotions after that kind of play, you can’t describe them,” Rose said. “They’re indescribable, but it feels real good, I’ll tell you that.”