For Robert Griffin and the Bears (3-1, 0-1 Big 12), his only interception of the season led to a late comeback by Kansas State. The quarterback took the blame even though he still has only two more incomplete passes (20) than his NCAA-leading 18 touchdowns.
“I’m the leader of the team, that’s what I’m supposed to do,” said Griffin, who had his third five-TD game this season against K-State. “I’m the general out there. Coach (Art) Briles is the president, but I’m the one that has to lead the troops out there on the battlefield, and we didn’t come away with the victory.”
Iowa State (3-1, 0-1), on the verge of a possible Top 25 ranking, had a mistake-filled three-touchdown loss at home against 11th-ranked Texas. The Cyclones had two fumbles and an interception in the first quarter, when Texas quickly went up 13-0 on the way to a 34-0 halftime lead.
“It was more like a baseball bat hitting them and the realization of the fact that you can’t play the 11th-ranked team in the country that way, that slowly to begin a football game, and expect to come back and win,” Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said. “So a heavy dose of reality, and we’ll see if we can’t start faster, play cleaner this week.”
Baylor and Iowa State play Saturday night.
Griffin has thrown only one interception, but it was a big one that set up the Wildcats’ go-ahead field goal in the closing minutes last week. He still leads the nation completing 82 percent of his passes (93 of 113) for 1,308 yards.
The Bears are the only FBS team averaging at least 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing.
Baylor is happy to be home again after losing in its only road game so far this season.
Briles expects his team to “fight because that’s what you do when you have a little adversity in your plan. That’s what we’re going to do as a football team, I can guarantee you that.”
The coach said his players were down after the K-State game because they played with passion and effort.
“You grow from it,” Briles said. “We all learned some tough lessons the other day, and we’ll move forward and be ready to go Saturday, no doubt. We better be because Iowa State’s a good football team. I can promise you they’re not concerned about what our feelings are.”
Iowa State put an emphasis on ball security during practice this week. The Cyclones are last in the nation with a minus-eight turnover margin—they have 13 turnovers (six fumbles, seven interceptions) and have forced only five.
One encouraging sign for Rhoads is how quickly his team seemed ready to put Texas behind them.
“We had a great attitude on Sunday and a great energy on our football team when we came back to work,” Rhoads said. “By judging the attitude of our football team Sunday, we rebounded quickly knowing the exciting challenges that are ahead of us.
“The kids are eager to be coached and realized the mistakes they had made that largely contributed to our loss.”
While Griffin is developing into a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender, Iowa State’s junior quarterback is having a solid season of his own.
Steele Jantz has thrown seven TDs and run for two others while also completing passes to 11 different receivers. He has also led the Cyclones to go-ahead touchdowns in the fourth quarter of all three victories.
Griffin has thrown touchdowns to seven different receivers, but he obviously has a favorite target: Kendall Wright has 40 receptions with seven TDs and leads the nation with 155.3 receiving yards a game.
“Kendall’s a great athlete. So you’ve just got to trust him and believe that he’s going to make every catch,” Griffin said. “And he’s done that so far this year.”