Iowa State defensive end JaQuan Bailey forced and recovered a fumble in Saturday’s win at TCU. Photo courtesy Russell Luna/Iowa State University Athletics Communications
JaQuan Bailey tried to deflect credit.
It was a nice gesture from Iowa State’s now stand-alone all-time sacks king, but the senior defensive end deserved full credit for his backfield blow-ups in Saturday’s 37-34 Big 12 season-opening opening win at TCU.
“Honest to God, I am very humbled to be up there with some of the greats,” Bailey — who tied a single-game school record with 3.5 sacks and now owns the career benchmark with 22 — said on the Cyclone Radio Network postgame show. “It’s an honor. It’s a testament to all these great players and my coaches pushing me each and every day — (from) Enyi (Uwazurike) to Will (McDonald) to Isaiah (Lee) and even Sean Foster and, most importantly, to my brother Joshua Bailey. I don’t think this is just my record. These are the D-line’s records, because these guys have helped me each and every day and I wouldn’t be (the) person I am today without all their help.”
To recap, Bailey gave credit to four fellow defensive linemen, the entire coaching staff — and a senior offensive lineman, for good measure.
Humbled, indeed. That’s how the Horned Frogs’ offensive front felt in the first half when Bailey did most of his statistical damage. The 6-2, 261-pounder from Jacksonville, Fla., is also the program’s all-time leader in tackles for loss (36.5) and tied for the single-game mark in that category with four stops behind the line of scrimmage.
He also forced and recovered a fumble with 1:04 left in the first half that led to a two-play ISU touchdown drive that culminated in a 17-yard scoring strike from Brock Purdy to Darren Wilson that gave the Cyclones a 16-7 lead at the break.
“I thought JaQuan was outstanding (in week one),” ISU coach Matt Campbell said. “I thought one of the most complete games he had played and again, who’s gonna play really good right now? Well, those guys that sacrificed in March and April and May when they were back home and I’m gonna tell you, nobody works harder than JaQuan Bailey. So I feel like he’s in midseason form. You saw it last week. You saw it again today. I think it helps JaQuan that you’ve got a little bit of a partnership over there on the other side with Will McDonald. I think those two have the ability to create a lot of havoc.”
McDonald added a sack and quarterback hurry. Interior D-linemen Enyi Uwazurike and Latrell Bankston notched a combined one and a half sacks. But Bailey did the most damage before the Horned Frogs adjusted and double-teamed him most of the second half.
“I’m so happy for JaQuan,” said ISU linebacker Mike Rose, whose interception with 4:56 left helped the Cyclones (1-1, 1-0) seal the win. “It was a hard time for him last year not being able to play (because of injury). He just kept his head down, kept working. You just knew at some point he was going to do that. … That didn’t surprise me, I’ll put it that way.”
It shouldn’t surprise anyone — now that Bailey is healthy again.
“I couldn’t be prouder of JaQuan,” Campbell said.
ON TO OKLAHOMA …
Each college football weekend is bound to be wild in this COVID-19 affected season, but Saturday was particularly topsy-turvy. Front and center: Kansas State upsetting No. 3 Oklahoma 38-35 in Norman. The Wildcats were 28-point underdogs after losing to Arkansas State in week one. The Sooners are the Cyclones’ next opponent Saturday in Ames.
“Well, I think for us the challenge is in the mirror,” Campbell said when asked about the impending matchup with OU. “We’ve got to continue to get better. The Cyclones have gotta get better and that’s a unique challenge here in the time we’re in, but I’ve got a lot of confidence in our leadership.”
THE JOE (SCATES) SHOW
Iowa State sophomore receiver Joe Scates showcased his speed and skill on a pass from Purdy late in the third quarter. Scates beat his man in one-on-one coverage and made a diving catch of 44 yards. That set up Breece Hall’s second of three touchdowns that put ISU ahead 30-21 with 12:52 left in the game. It was Scates’ only target of the day and he made the Horned Frogs pay.
“Joe Scates, the play that he makes right before the fourth quarter, I thought was probably the game-changer,” Campbell said. “Great to see guys step up and make plays and some new guys step up. Great to have (All-American tight end Charlie) Kolar back, too. I think you could tell, huge difference.”
Kolar, who is continuing to recover from a lower-body injury, greatly augments Purdy’s comfort level. He was targeted an ISU-high five times and caught each one for a total of 27 yards.
Hall’s 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter tied his career-long rush. He also scored on a 75-yard touchdown last season at Texas Tech… Hall is ISU’s first back to notch back-to-back 100-yard rushing games to start the season since the late Ennis Haywood did so in 2001… The Cyclones improved to 22-5 all-time under Campbell when leading at halftime.