Iowa St.-Baylor Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- Robert Griffin III has made few mistakes during his impressive start, but a critical one led to Baylor's first loss.
The Heisman Trophy candidate and the 25th-ranked Bears will try to bounce back from that stinging defeat by prevailing over Big 12 rival Iowa State on Saturday night.
Griffin passed for more than 300 yards and five touchdowns for the third time in four games last Saturday at Kansas State, but his first interception of the season led to the go-ahead field goal in a 36-35 defeat.
"You've just got to finish games, and that's what we didn't do," said Griffin, who finished 23 of 31 for 346 yards. "We played extremely bad, probably the worst we've played all year and only lost by one. So that's the encouraging thing, but we've got to go out and make sure that doesn't happen again."
Griffin leads the nation in passer rating (230.3), completion percentage (82.3) and touchdown passes (18). He also ranks third in total offense at 370.3 yards per game.
"He's a great, great athlete standing back there," Iowa State defensive coordinator Wally Burnham said. "He's just got great touch. He knows where he wants to go with the ball and he does a good job of getting it there. "
While the Cyclones look to avoid a second straight blowout loss to a ranked opponent, the Bears (3-1, 0-1) try to get back on track after being denied their best start in 20 years.
"We all learned some tough lessons, but we'll move forward and be ready to go Saturday, no doubt," Baylor coach Art Briles said. "We better be because Iowa State's a good football team. I can promise you they're not concerned about what our feelings are."
The Cyclones (3-1, 0-1) are coming off a 37-14 defeat to then-No. 17 Texas last Saturday, committing at least three turnovers for the fourth time in as many games.
They were flagged for 90 yards in penalties, including two holding calls that nullified long runs from James White, and had a blocked punt returned for a touchdown while falling behind 34-0 before halftime.
"Coach (Paul Rhoads) has been telling us all season that we can't keep making the same mistakes over and over and expect to win against good teams," White said. "We face adversity and it's something we have to work past. But we can't keep making the same mistakes every game."
Iowa State has yet to score a point in the first quarter.
"I haven't really figured that out," said quarterback Steele Jantz, who has seven TD passes and seven INTs. "Maybe it's just because we need to make a bigger point of emphasis to just come out stronger. Not so much just playing hard, but about not making mistakes."
Iowa State also suffered a number of injuries, including a scary one to defensive back Leonard Johnson, but only starting offensive lineman Brayden Burris, who needed surgery for a broken leg, is not expected to play at Baylor.
Johnson was carried off on a stretcher after banging helmets with a pair of teammates, but Rhoads said he will likely be available this week.
The Cyclones might need Johnson's help to stop Kendall Wright, who had a school-record 201 receiving yards and three TDs last week. The senior has 40 receptions for 621 yards and already has matched a career high with seven touchdowns.
Wright had a big day the last time Baylor hosted Iowa State, finishing with 132 yards and catching both of Griffin's TD passes in a 38-10 victory in 2008. That's the only time Griffin has faced the Cyclones, going 21 of 24 for 278 yards, because he missed the last meeting due to a knee injury.
Wright was held to 41 yards in that matchup as Iowa State won 24-10 in 2009 to take a 5-4 lead in the series.
The Cyclones, however, are 1-20 against ranked teams since the beginning of the 2006 season.
"I've seen a couple of their games and they are very physical and they play fast," Baylor tailback Terrance Ganaway said. "They have beaten some really great teams, so we're going to have to get after it."
Updated October 5, 2011