Friday, December 28, 2012

Baylor: 2012 Holiday Bowl Champions

Baylor starts fast, finishes UCLA Bruins quickly in Holiday Bowl, 49-26
Special Contributor
Published: 27 December 2012 09:05 PM
SAN DIEGO —  Before Thursday’s Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl matchup with Baylor, UCLA players said they had seen plenty of spread offenses in the Pac-12 and weren’t concerned with the Bears’ version.
But after a 49-26 beatdown, UCLA (9-5) surely realized that Baylor’s spread offense is something else altogether.
Baylor (8-5) scored 35 points in the first half. The booming halftime fireworks probably reminded the UCLA players and their fans of the offense they had just witnessed from the Big 12 bullies.
The impressive win before 55,507 chilled fans at Qualcomm Stadium lifted the Bears’ all-time bowl record to 10-9. It was by far their largest margin of victory in a bowl, breaking the previous mark of 13 points set in the 1948 Dixie Bowl and tied in the 1961 Gotham Bowl.
The Bears recorded their first back-to-back bowl victories since the 1985-86 Liberty and Bluebonnet bowls, coming on the heels of Baylor’s first-ever run of three straight bowl appearances.
After an exchange of punts to start the game, it didn’t take Baylor’s nationally top-ranked offense long to get on track. Starting at their own 47 after a 17-yard Brian Norwood kickoff return, the Bears covered the remaining 53 yards in just six plays and 1:43, with junior Glasco Martin scoring on a 4-yard run.
UCLA, still without first down, was forced to punt again, and Baylor came right back with a seven-play, 84-yard scoring drive, with a senior quarterback Nick Florence finding sophomore wide receiver Antwan Goodley in the back of the end zone for a another quick score and 14-0 lead late in the first quarter
The Bruins finally got its initial first down, but after being stopped on fourth-and-18, Baylor got the ball back and went right to work. The scoring drive only took 1:36, covering 76 yards in five plays, with Florence finding junior wide receiver Tevin Reese wide open for a 55-yard scoring strike and a 21-0 lead.
From there, the rout was really on. Martin got loose down the right side for a 26-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter and a 28-7 lead.
Stellar sophomore running back Lache Seastrunk, who made pregame comments about his goal of winning the 2013 Heisman Trophy, capped the Bears’ brilliant first half with a 43 scoring run up a huge hole in the middle of the field. He appeared to be trapped around the 20-yard line but made a quick move to the left and had a UCLA defender grasping at air.
Late in the third quarter, Seastrunk went over 1,000 yards for the season, remarkable for a back who played sparingly in the first seven games of the year but had more than 800 yards in the last six games.
The Bruins’ only first-half points came on a 22-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brett Hundley to Joseph Fauria two plays after a Baylor fumble, plus a lastsecond 30-yard field goal which drew boos from the large UCLA crowd. That made it 35-10 at the half.
McCaw on parade duty: Athletic director Ian McCaw has had to fill a lot of roles in helping resurrect the once dismal Baylor athletic program. But he managed to find a new one Thursday.
McCaw was pressed into duty during the Holiday Day Parade to help guide the school’s 55-foot inflatable bear. Dressed in a dark green jumpsuit, McCaw and other Baylor employees took over for BU students who were supposed to have handled the chore. The students were delayed on their 21-hour bus trip from Waco.
Delivering sacks: Baylor entered Thursday’s game with 13 sacks for the entire season. The Bears padded their total by four in just over a quarter against UCLA, which entered the game with 46 sacks allowed, third most in the nation.
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