IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Steele Jantz set career highs with 381 yards passing and five touchdowns and Iowa State held off visiting Baylor 35-21 to snap a two-game losing streak.
Jantz tied a school record with 36 completions to lead the Iowa State (5-3, 2/3 Big 12), who moved within one win of bowl eligibility for the third time in four years.
Jantz started for the first time since late September. He responded with one of the best quarterback performances in school history. Three of Jantz's touchdowns went to Jarvis West, whose 22-yard touchdown catch with 8:37 left made it 35-14 Cyclones.
Nick Florence threw for 426 yards and two touchdowns to lead Baylor (3-4, 0-4) which lost its fourth straight game.
Jantz wasn't without his flaws. He threw a bad interception near the goal line to start the second half and fumbled with 2:08 left and the game essentially in hand.
But against a Baylor defense that entered play last in the nation with 44 points allowed per game, Jantz played better than he ever has for the Cyclones.
Jantz directed a 14-play, 81-yard scoring drive midway through the third quarter, which he finished with an 8-yard floater to a wide-open Jeff Woody to make it 28-14.
Baylor was driving deep into Iowa State territory when replays showed that star lineman Cyril Richardson appeared to kick Iowa State's Brandon Jensen. The Bears were pushed back 15 yards and Richardson was tossed from the game. Iowa State eventually took over on downs.
Jantz capped a his comeback evening by rolling out of pressure and drilling West in the back of the end zone -- perhaps his best throw on a night filled with good ones. Jantz tied Austen Arnaud's school record with 36 completions on 52 attempts and Todd Bandhauer's 5-touchdown performance against Texas in 1998.
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads started Jantz over Jared Barnett, the starter for last week's 31-10 loss to Oklahoma State, after keeping it a secret all week.
Jantz and the Cyclones caught every break imaginable in the first 5 minutes. But they couldn't take advantage of any of them.
Iowa State recovered a pair of Baylor fumbles to set up their first two drives and benefited from three crucial Bears penalties. But Edwin Arceo missed a 32-yard field goal, and Baylor promptly went up 7-0 on Jarred Salubi's 2-yard run.
Jantz answered with an impressive 23-yard TD toss to West to tie it up just before the end of the first quarter.
A busted coverage by the Cyclones secondary led to Florence's 49-yard TD pass to Tevin Reese- but Iowa State Albert Gary rolled over a Baylor defender and caught a 36-yard touchdown pass to tie it up again.
Jantz and West hooked up for the second time with 27 seconds left in the half, this time for a 7-yard TD and a 21-14 lead.
Terrance Williams had 13 catches for 190 yards for Baylor, which was held to a season-low 21 points for the second time in three weeks.
Jantz, whose ineffectiveness cost him the No. 1 spot at the end of September, threw for 200 yards by halftime. Baylor picked him off to record their first takeaway of the year in Big 12 play, but Iowa State turned around and stuffed Florence on 4th-and-1 at the Cyclones 18-yard line.
Iowa State's defense kept giving Jantz the ball back -- getting four takeaways and stopping Baylor three times on fourth down -- and his offensive line kept giving him time to make plays.
It all led to a record-breaking game for a senior who wasn't even starting a week ago.