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2011 Alamo Bowl - Baylor 67, Washington 56

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 29, 2011


2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2011 Valero Alamo Bowl

2011 Valero Alamo

Baylor 67, Washington 56

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
B W
2nd Total Offense 57th
114th Total Defense 94th
6th Scoring Offense 36th
109th Scoring Defense 99th
18th Rushing Offense 67th
102nd Run Defense 55th
5th Passing Offense 52nd
112th Passing Defense 116th
32nd Turnover Margin 42nd
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
B   W
5 Quarterbacks 3
4 RBs 4
5 Receivers 3.5
3 O Line 2.5
2 D Line 2.5
2 Linebackers 3
1.5 Secondary 2
2 Spec Teams 3.5
4 Coaching 3
Valero Alamo Bowl
Baylor 67 … Washington 56

- CFN Thoughts on the Alamo

Baylor: The Bears came up with 777 yards and 482 rushing yards. … Robert Griffin III completed 24-of-33 passes for 295 yards and a score, and ran 18 times for 55 yards and a score. … Terrance Ganaway ran 21 times for 200 yards and five scores. …. Jerred Salubi ran five times for 101 yards and two scores. … Tevin Reese ran twice for 101 yards and caught five passes for 66 yards …. Kendall Wright caught seven passes for 91 yards and a score. … Baylor LB Elliot Coffey made 15 tackles.

Washington: The Huskies gained 620 yards … Keith Price completed 23-of-37 passes for 438 yards and four scores, and ran five times for 39 yards and three scores. … Chris Polk ran 30 times for 147 yards and a score. … Jermaine Kearse caught five passes for 198 yards and a score, and Devin Aguilar caught five passes for 90 yards and two scores. … Sean Parker made 15 tackles. … Josh Shirley made five tackles and three sacks.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III wasn't dazzling - and didn't need to be - as No. 15 Baylor pulled out a thrilling Alamo Bowl victory in the highest-scoring bowl game in history, beating Washington 67-56 in a record-smashing shootout Thursday night.

If this was RG3's final showcase before jumping to the NFL, it was a gripping goodbye to watch. One of the nation's most electrifying players was upstaged by an even more exciting game that shattering the previous record for points in regulation set in the 2001 GMAC Bowl.

Griffin had an unremarkable night, throwing just one touchdown pass and running for another. But Terrance Ganaway starred ably in his place, rushing for 200 yards and five touchdowns.

His last was a 43-yard run with 2:28 left to seal Baylor's first 10-win season since 1980.

Griffin wasn't the star, but a crowd overwhelmingly in favor of Baylor that was left breathless by five lead changes and three touchdown plays of 50 yards or longer still treated him like one.

"One more year! One more year!" fans chanted as Griffin darted around the field in celebration.

Asked when he'll make his decision on whether to forgo his senior year, the AP Player of the Year said, "Pretty soon here, probably."

The previous bowl record for a regulation game was 102 total points set in the 2001 GMAC Bowl between Marshall and East Carolina. That game went to double overtime and ended with a combined 125 points - which still stands as the overall bowl record.

Baylor and Washington (7-6) also set a bowl record for total offense in a game with 1,377 yards.

Washington quarterback Keith Price outplayed his Heisman counterpart, going 23 for 27 with 438 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for another three scores.

Griffin was 24 of 33 for 295 yards - and his only touchdown throw came on the game's opening drive.

Blown out in four other games against ranked opponents this season, the Huskies finally made one interesting. Not that it started that way after Baylor ran up 245 yards of offense alone in the first quarter - awful even by the standards of Washington's defense, which is among the nation's worst.

Then the most award-winning QB in the country suddenly stopped looking like even the best one in the Alamodome.

Price, a sophomore who threw a school-record 29 touchdowns in his first year as the starter, began cutting into a 21-7 deficit with a 12-yard scoring strike to James Johnson. Seven minutes later he tied the game when Devin Aguilar somersaulted over the goal line after catching a 1-yard lob.

The overwhelming crowd of Baylor fans - decked in green-and-gold Heisman shirts and armed with signs such as "Superman wears RG3 socks" - stood in stunned silenced. That gave way to disbelieving gasps on the next series, when the typically sure-handed Griffin fumbled after getting popped by Andrew Hudson.

After that, it was practically a free-for-all of big plays.

A 56-yard touchdown dash by Polk. An 80-yard touchdown catch by Washington's Jermaine Kearse two plays into the second half. An 89-yard scoring rumble by Baylor's Terrance Ganaway. Kearse again, catching and darting for 60 yards before getting dragged down, setting up Price's fourth touchdown toss the next play.

Back and forth, back and forth. One after another. In all, five plays covered 50 or more yards, three of them for scores.

For an Alamo Bowl short on drama and light on matchups in recent years, it was a thrilling scoring spree that overshadowed the mere novelty of featuring the Heisman winner. And that in itself was a rarity for a bowl of this stature: Not since Ty Detmer took BYU to the Holiday Bowl in 1990 had a Heisman winner played in a bowl before New Year's Day.

Plenty came to see this one.

Anticipating a surge of Heisman gawkers, Alamo Bowl officials added 800 temporary seats and opened up others with obstructed views that required ticket-buyers to sign a form acknowledging the poor sightlines. Those seats sold, anyway, and the announced attendance of 65,256 was the fifth-largest in the bowl's history.

Others had better seats.

That includes Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, who kicked for Baylor in the late 1980s but was here on business scouting Griffin in case the fourth-year junior enters the draft. Griffin's parents, two sisters and fiancee watched the nail-biter with front-row seats.

Griffin acknowledged this week his parents are looking at his draft prospects but denies having any substantial talks with them.

Win or lose, it was an impressive finale for Washington after stumbling into the postseason losing four of its last six. Particularly against a ranked team after then-Top 25 opponents Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon and USC all crushed the Huskies by an average of 24 points.

Baylor (9-3) vs. Washington (7-5) Dec. 29, 9:00, ESPN

Here’s The Deal … Remember the Alamo? Shouldn’t be a problem for the fans who attend or witness the 19th edition of this San Antonio bowl event.

The Alamo Bowl committee has to be pinching itself after successfully staging one of the more exciting matchups of the non-BCS bowl games. Both Baylor and Washington are offensive-driven teams that only play defense sporadically, guaranteeing a wide-open, high-scoring game. Oh, and this year’s Heisman Trophy winner is going to be in town, too.

Baylor will arrive in San Antonio looking to add an exclamation point to arguably the most memorable season in school history. The milestones have been plentiful, from QB Robert Griffin III’s school-first Heisman victory to scintillating wins over TCU, Oklahoma and Texas. It’s been a storybook ride in Waco that still has one final chapter remaining in 2011. The Bears are seeking a postseason win—any postseason win. Sure, the nation’s No. 12 team was passed over for an at-large BCS bowl berth, but that can’t squelch the desire to hoist a bowl trophy for the first time in almost two decades.

It’s been a long time since Baylor was relevant in football. How long? The last time the school won ten games in a season, it was 1980, and the RG franchise had only two members in it. What head coach Art Briles has been able to accomplish in four years has been remarkable, luring more speed to Waco, and transforming a perennial also-ran into a hot commodity far outside the Big 12 borders. The next few weeks will be huge for Briles, as he bucks for win No. 10, and awaits No. 10’s decision about his senior year.

It was a strange season on Montlake. Yeah, U-Dub qualified for a second straight bowl game, an important step in its evolution, but it also flopped once the schedule grew teeth in the second half. The 5-1 team that made a Top 25 cameo in mid-October did a face-plant in losses to Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon, USC and even Oregon State to temper the enthusiasm from the quick start. The fallout was clear: While the Huskies are far better off than the days when Keith Gilbertson and Tyrone Willingham were calling the shots, they still have a long way to go before competing for a Pac-12 title.

In just three years, head coach Steve Sarkisian has done a terrific job in Seattle, reviving a moribund program. The turnaround has been paying dividends at the turnstiles and on signing day. And opposing athletic directors have taken notice, forcing Washington to work a little harder to keep its leader from getting happy feet. The Huskies have traditionally been a good postseason team, highlighted by last December’s Holiday Bowl upset of heavily-favored Nebraska. Sark is bucking to bring down another Big 12 team in an effort to reverse the downward slide that gripped his team in the second half of the regular season.

Players to Watch: Griffin will be the first person to admit that he got a ton of support en route to his Heisman immortality. He’s surrounded by an artillery of weapons that doesn’t get nearly enough recognition outside of Waco. RB Terrance Ganaway is a 240-pound wrecking ball, who has rushed 1,347 yards and 16 touchdowns, while giving the Bears a much-needed physical presence between the tackles. On the flanks, senior Kendall Wright, junior Terrance Williams and sophomore Tevin Reese each has at least 46 catches and seven touchdown receptions. Wright, in particular, is a next-level speedster who’ll cause frequent migraines for a highly suspect Washington secondary.

Baylor is going to score. The Bears have put up points all year. Washington, though, believes it can keep pace on offense, a key reason why this matchup has such mass appeal. The Huskies averaged more than 31 points a game during the regular season, getting a terrific debut out of Jake Locker’s successor behind center, Keith Price.

Despite being saddled with nagging injuries to his knees and ankle, he still managed to throw a school-record 29 touchdown passes. Well-rested and eager to test out his wheels, he’ll be looking to exploit the Baylor pass defense with help from TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and receivers Jermaine Kearse and Devin Aguilar. Seferian-Jenkins is just a rookie, and destined to be a Mackey Award contenders for the next three seasons. Providing balance will be three-time 1,000-yard rusher Chris Polk, one of the most tireless backs in the country.

With all of the speedy stars in this year’s Alamo Bowl, it would be easy to overlook some of the game’s best interior players. And regrettable. Both programs house massive blocks of granite in the middle of their defensive lines. At Baylor, 6-2, 335-pound NG Nicolas Jean-Baptiste is coming off his best season with the program, earning a spot on the All-Big 12 Second team. The former walk-on has registered 36 tackles, a team-high 8.5 stops for loss and four sacks. However, he’s at his best when taking up space and occupying multiple blockers so that LB Elliot Coffey and DB Ahmad Dixon can provide support on running downs.

Washington is home to an even better NFL prospect in the trenches, senior Alameda Ta’amu. The 6-3, 333-pound is an immovable object on the interior of the front wall, using his enormous strength to overpower opposing blockers. Like Jean-Baptiste, he doesn’t always make the tackles, but he often helps make the teammates around him better. He’ll need to push the pile for a Huskies defense that produced just four sacks between midseason and the Apple Cup finale with Washington State. If Ta’amu is unable to free up frenetic redshirt freshmen ends Josh Shirley and Andrew Hudson, it’ll be a very long night for the U-Dub defensive backfield.

Baylor will win if … the defense doesn’t get trucked on the ground by Polk.

One of the common threads in the Bears’ three losses this season is that the defense got embarrassed at the point of attack. Kansas State, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State averaged 268 yards on the ground, which disrupted the rhythm of the Baylor offense. How do you neutralize the myriad talents of Griffin? You keep him off the field. Polk is a workhorse, the kind of grinder who can bring a team to its knees with his rugged running style.

Go ask Nebraska, which yielded 177 yards and a touchdown to the Huskies star on 34 draining carries in last year’s bowl game. The Bears must find a way to slow down No. 1 early on, because he’s the kind of runner that gets better with more work.

Washington will win if … Price is able to tap into his first half of the year form.

Yeah, the sophomore will have to outduel the Heisman winner in order for the Huskies to be crowned Alamo Bowl champions. Points will come quickly in this track meet, meaning Price must find a way to channel his September or October self, when three and four-touchdown games were the norm. After the first six games, he’d already connected for 21 touchdown passes. That guy must exploit a Baylor secondary that ranks 112th nationally, and has allowed a whopping 32 touchdown passes. Polk is going to get his yards, but this will not be the kind of game that can be won by a single playmaker. No, to keep pace with the Bears, Washington must get production from every corner of its offense.

What Will Happen: Buckle up, fans. This figures to be one of the wildest of the 35-game postseason slate.

Both defenses are shoddy. Both offenses are potent. All signs point to the kind of shootout befitting of a game staged in the same city as the Alamo. Each team will land body blows in the first half, trading long drives and big plays. However, Washington is going to eventually run out of gas over the final two quarters. The Baylor offense operates at a different speed than most other programs, and will pile up the points at the expense of the Huskies D. For the second straight year, a dual-threat Heisman winner will shine in the postseason, with Griffin accounting for the majority of his team’s points and yards.

CFN Prediction: Baylor 45 … Washington 31
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: Baylor -9   O/U: 78.5
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Baylor might have the Heisman winner and RGIII and company might be looking to make amends for last year's miserable Texas Bowl loss to Illinois, but UW's Chris Polk will be the star running for 200 yards and the Husky win.

By Richard Cirminiello 
Washington will have almost four weeks to prepare for Robert Griffin III and his underrated supporting cast. It won’t be nearly enough time.

By Matt Zemek
Get your calculators ready when Baylor plays Washington in a dome.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
Will we be watching the Heisman Trophy winner in this one? Robert Griffin III finishing off his sizzling junior season in front of the home state crowd should be fun to watch.

By Russ Mitchell
Baylor and RGIII have the second best offense in the nation, to go with the fifth best passing offense and the sixth best scoring offense. Washington's pass efficiency defense is 79th in the nation, and passing defense is 116th. AND the game's in Texas. I don't have a single ex that lives there...in case you're wondering. Texas, not Washington.

By Terry Johnson
Expect a QB dual between Heisman Trophy candidate Robert Griffin III and Washington sophomore Keith Price, who has quietly emerged as the Pac 12’s top signal callers.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
Baylor might be the hottest team in the land but is probably a bit disappointed with its place on the bowl docket. How will the post season award tour effect RG III?
    
Best Bowl Moments
 
Best Husky Bowl Moment: Steve Emtman. Billy Joe Hobert. Mario Bailey. These and other stars catapulted coach Don James’s best Washington team to an emphatic 34-14 smackdown of Michigan in a highly anticipated 1992 Rose Bowl. The No. 2 Huskies and the No. 4 Wolverines played a game imbued with the electricity worthy of a game with national-title implications, and when Washington manhandled Michigan with noticeable ease, it was hard to deny the sense that the best collegiate football team in the United States was the team that resided in Seattle.

Best Bear Bowl Moment: Grant Teaff is the greatest coach in Baylor football history, but the Bears’ most consequential bowl win came long before he arrived. Teaff’s best Baylor squads were stopped by Joe Paterno and Penn State in the 1975 Cotton Bowl, and then by Bear Bryant’s Alabama outfit in the 1981 Cotton classic. Baylor’s signature bowl moment remains the 1957 Sugar Bowl, a 13-7 conquest of Tennessee and Heisman Trophy runner-up Johnny Majors.

Alamo Bowl History
2010 Oklahoma State 36, Arizona 10
2009 Texas Tech 41, Michigan State 31
2008
Missouri 30, Northwestern 23 OT
2007 Penn State 24, Texas A&M 177
2006 Texas 26, Iowa 244
2005 Nebraska 32, Michigan 288
2004 Ohio State 33, Oklahoma St 77
2003 Nebraska 17, Michigan State 33
2002 Wisconsin 31, Colorado 288
2001 Iowa 19, Texas Tech 166
2000 Nebraska 66, Northwestern 177
1999 Penn State 23, Texas A&M 00
1998 Purdue 37, Kansas St. 344
1997 Purdue 33, Oklahoma St. 200
1996 Iowa 27, Texas Tech 00
1995 Texas A&M 22, Michigan 200
1994 Washington St. 10, Baylor 33
1993 California 37, Iowa 33

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