Baylor's expectations have gotten so high that a 21-point road win in the Big 12 was greeted with a collective shrug.
But the Bears (4-0, 1-0) quietly dominated Iowa State on Saturday in a 49-28 win that wasn't as close as the final score indicated.
Baylor wide receivers Antwan Goodley and Corey Coleman combined for 18 catches, 268 yards and a touchdown in their first games back from injury. Bryce Petty overcame the first game of his career without multiple TD passes with two touchdown runs, and the Bears showed that they could maintain their nearly point-a-minute pace in league play.
Baylor remained seventh in The Associated Press poll released Sunday.
"I'm really proud of our guys for holding tough mentally and being strong, playing well early on both sides of the ball and giving us a little bit of a cushion as we finished up the game. Our main objective is to win and get on the plane happy," said Baylor coach Art Briles.
The Bears hardly missed Goodley and Coleman in non-conference play, when they blew past SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo by a combined score of 178-27.
They'll likely need the pair to play at an all-conference level if they want to repeat as Big 12 champions though.
Goodley (quadriceps) and Coleman (hamstring) looked 100 percent against the Cyclones (1-3, 0-2).
Petty went to Goodley early in an effort to get the senior star going. Goodley had 95 yards receiving on four catches in the first quarter alone as the Bears jumped ahead 14-7.
Coleman had the best game of his young career, catching 12 balls for 154 yards. His 25-yard TD catch from Petty also answered Iowa State's first TD and helped put the Cyclones in a hole from which they couldn't escape.
"I missed Antwan on a couple of things. It's just about rhythm and timing. But these guys have a chance to break it every time they touch it. I love having them out there," Petty said.
Petty displayed his versatility against the Cyclones with nine rushes for 47 yards, including a leaping 16-yard TD in the first quarter. Petty had two of Baylor's six touchdown runs, and the Bears rushed for 244 yards while maintaining a near-perfect run-pass balance.
Baylor's defense had a few issues containing the rushing ability of Iowa State quarterback Sam Richardson, most notably on a 47-yard TD sprint to open the second half. But the Bears also held the Cyclones to just seven first-half points while their offense again dictated the pace and tempo of the game.
It's also worth noting that Iowa State is as good as any 1-3 team in the country.
The Cyclones lost to No. 23 Kansas State 32-28 in a game that could have gone either way, and they beat rival Iowa (4-1) on the road earlier this month.
"Kansas State is a good football team...Iowa, apparently, is a pretty good football team. They've won two in a row since Iowa State beat them. We did what we had to do," Briles said.
The biggest takeaway from Baylor's first league road trip was the healthy returns of Goodley and Coleman.
Now that Big 12 play is in full swing, Baylor can continue to attack opposing defenses with a receiving corps that's the envy of the rest of the country.
"We have a lot of playmakers in our receiving room. We've got the best guys in the country. There's no doubt in my mind," Goodley said.
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