WACO — Gerry Bohanon threw two touchdowns and ran for another, and Baylor stopped a 2-point try with 24 seconds left to beat No. 14 Iowa State 31-29 on Saturday.
Breece Hall ran for 180 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries for Iowa State (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) and caught five passes for 51 yards, including a 16-yard score in the final minute that was followed by a 2-point try.
During the try, Cyclones quarterback Brock Purdy went under center after spending most of the day in shotgun. He bobbled the snap, and that was enough to throw off the play’s timing. Purdy was forced to throw a jump ball that was intercepted by JT Woods.
“It was supposed to be a play-action, and we felt like it would work knowing that I demand so much attention,” Hall said. “It was a bobbled snap, so Brock got out there late. He couldn’t get around the edge defender, so he had to throw it up and hope for the best. It just didn’t work out.”
The Bears recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock for their first win over a ranked opponent since they beat North Carolina in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl.
“It was a team win,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said. “The guys (were) gritting out stuff and not allowing stuff to happen. It’s way cool to be on that side of it.”
Hall’s two rushing touchdowns gave him the school record with 39 for his career, breaking the mark set by Troy Davis (1994-96) and Dexter Green (1975-78). It was Hall’s 16th straight game with a rushing touchdown, which snapped a tie for the Big 12 record he shared with former Missouri quarterback Corby Jones (1997-98).
After an early Iowa State touchdown, the Bears (4-0, 2-0) scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and never trailed again. Bohannon ran for an 8-yard TD, then found Tyquan Thornton along the left sideline for a 21-yard score and Ben Sims behind the Iowa State secondary for a 33-yard touchdown to give Baylor a 21-7 lead 7 seconds into the second quarter.
Bohannon finished 14-for-19 for 164 yards and rushed for 36 yards.
Treston Ebner returned a kickoff 98 yards for Baylor’s only touchdown of the second half with 6:59 left in the third quarter.
Purdy was 22-for-33 for 263 yards and a touchdown. He was also intercepted early in the fourth, stopping a drive at the Baylor 22 with 11:55 left in the game.
Andrew Mevis was 3-for-4 on field goals for Iowa State.
The Bears already have doubled their win total from 2020 but were heavy favorites against Texas State, Texas Southern and Kansas. Baylor was an underdog Saturday and was outgained by Iowa State 469-284. But the Bears won with special teams and a bend-but-don’t-break defense.
Baylor’s first three drives went 75, 56 and 75 yards for touchdowns, but the Bears managed only 76 yards on eight possessions the rest of the game. Baylor made up for its lack of offensive output in the last three quarters on special teams.
In addition to Ebner’s kickoff return for a touchdown, he had a 41-yard punt return that set up Baylor at the Iowa State 17 and resulted in a 34-yard field goal with 5:36 left in the game.
“We talked about special teams being a big factor in this game,” Aranda said. “We’ll go through about seven things every game. The kicking game was a major one in this one. We wanted to show our ability to be electric. I’m glad (Ebner) was able to follow through with that for us.”
Al Walcott partially blocked a punt in the first quarter that set up Baylor’s second touchdown, and the four punts from Isaac Power averaged 54.5 yards. One of those was muffed by Iowa State and Baylor had a clean shot at a recovery before the Cyclones saved what would have been another disastrous play.
Baylor goes on the road to meet Oklahoma State next week.