WACO, Texas (AP) — After a narrow loss last weekend in its Big 12 opener, Baylor turned to a powerful ground game to recover from the setback.
Robert Griffin ran for a season-high 107 yards, Terrance Ganaway rushed for a career-high 200 yards and three scores and No. 25 Baylor beat Iowa State 49-26 on Saturday night.
Powered by 391 rushing yards, the Bears (4-1, 1-1) bounced back from a 36-35 loss to No. 20 Kansas State. Baylor blew a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Wildcats.
Ganaway, a fifth-year senior, led Baylor’s offensive charge as Griffin threw for a season-low 212 yards. “If we weren’t able to run the ball, we wouldn’t have won the game,” said Griffin, who was 22-of-30 passing. “Ganaway was a big part of that.”
Baylor’s Tevin Elliott returned a fumble 86 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter as Iowa State was threatening to make the game close.
“Tevin has been a ball hawk his entire career,” Bears coach Art Briles said. “That swung the momentum.”
Darius Reynolds had 178 yards receiving and two touchdowns, and Steele Jantz threw for three scores as Iowa State (3-2, 0-2) lost its second straight after a 3-0 start.
The Cyclones did not make any players available to the media after the game.
“There’s a reason they’re 4-1 and a Top-25 football team,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “They’ve got great skill and they play very good football.”
After Ganaway’s 3-yard TD run gave Baylor a 28-14 advantage in the third, the Cyclones were deep in Bears territory after Jantz connected with Reynolds on a 57-yard pass.
Jantz was running to his left when Gary Mason Jr. stripped the Iowa State quarterback. Elliott scooped up the loose ball and ran into the end zone untouched to give Baylor a 35-14 lead with 6:18 left in the third.
“I haven’t run like that since high school,” Elliott said. “The monkey jumped on my back about halfway down there. Luckily, I made it.”
After a review of the play, it was ruled the ball popped out just before Jantz’s knee hit the ground.
It was second key booth review that went in Baylor’s favor.
In the second quarter, it was ruled on the field that Griffin lost a fumble. However, the play was overturned when replay officials said Griffin’s arm was in motion before he dropped the ball.
Griffin threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Wright on the next play to tie the game at 14.
“Anything that has to do with officiating,” Rhoads said. “I’m just gonna to leave that be.”
Even though Griffin hit on his first 11 passes to start the game, Baylor didn’t score in the opening quarter because it lost two fumbles. Griffin’s first incompletion came with 28 seconds remaining in the first quarter when he threw the ball away while scrambling away from pressure.
Baylor’s first touchdown came on Griffin’s 1-yard sneak. The Heisman candidate then dodged his near fumble and threw the TD pass to Wright.
Iowa State sacked Griffin three times and constantly hounded Baylor’s star all game.
Behind Ganaway, the Bears turned to its ground game.
The Bears took a 21-14 advantage on a 58-yard drive, all of which came on running plays. Ganaway, who lost a fumble in the first quarter, had a 13-yard carry to set up Glasco Martin’s 1-yard plunge into the end zone.
Ganaway also had TD runs of 2 and 22 yards in the fourth quarter.
“Sometimes I was 20 yards down the field before I even got touched,” said Ganaway, who carried the ball 23 times.
Iowa State’s James White rushed for 148 yards, including a 76-yard TD in the third.
Jantz and Reynolds hooked up three times for 76 yards on Iowa State’s opening drive. Reynolds caught a 10-yard TD pass to put the Cyclones on top 7-0.
Jantz also threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Reid Branderhorst in the second quarter.