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2012 Holiday - Baylor 49, UCLA 26

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 28, 2012


2012-2013 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2012 Bridgepoint Education Holiday

2012 B.E. Holiday

UCLA vs. Baylor

- 2012-2013 CFN Bowl Central
 
- CFN Analysis & Thoughts on the Holiday Bowl   


National Rankings
LA B
20th Total Offense 1st
72nd Total Defense 119th
29th Scoring Offense 5th
55th Scoring Defense 115th
27th Rushing Offense 18th
53rd Run Defense 89th
36th Passing Offense 3rd
91st Passing Defense 118th
45th Turnover Margin 38th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
LA   B
4 Quarterbacks 4.5
4.5 RBs 4.5
4 Receivers 4.5
2.5 O Line 3.5
3.5 D Line 2
3.5 Linebackers 2.5
2.5 Secondary 1.5
3 Spec Teams 3
4 Coaching 4
SAN DIEGO (AP) - By early in the second quarter, Baylor was well on its way to blitzing UCLA and Nick Florence had supplanted Robert Griffin III as the Bears' season passing leader.

Florence will remember both accomplishments for a long time.

The Bears overwhelmed the Bruins 49-26 in the Holiday Bowl on Thursday night as Florence threw for two scores and ran for another. Glasco Martin ran for three touchdowns.

Florence completed 10 of 13 passes for 188 yards, giving him 4,309 for the season to break RG3's school record of 4,293 set in his Heisman Trophy-winning season of 2011.

``For me, I just wanted a chance to play. I just happened to follow a Heisman Trophy winner,'' Florence said. ``I'm not Robert. I'm not 6-3. I don't run a 4.3. You saw that tonight. Man, if I could run a 4.3 it would be nice. So I just had to be me. I tried to manage this offense and play within myself. He's a heck of player, he's done a heck of a job for this program, put us on the map. I'm humbled and honored to hold that record. He deserves it. I never thought that would have happened this year. I just wanted to win games.''

Baylor (8-5) won its final four games and five of six.

``That was a question we asked all our players, `What was going to happen now that Robert's gone?''' coach Art Briles said. ``And our guys responded, fought together, believed in each other. They have always sustained and never lost focus.''

Lache Seastrunk rushed 16 times for 138 yards and one score for Baylor, which outgained UCLA 494-362. The Bears came in leading the nation in total offense with 578.8 yards per game.

Baylor's defense came up big, too. The Bears sacked Brett Hundley six times, including two by Chris McAllister, and shut down UCLA's career rushing leader Johnathan Franklin. Franklin, who averaged 130.8 yards this season, gained 12 yards on his first carry of the game but was a non-factor after that, finishing with just 34 yards on 14 carries.

Overall, the Bruins gained only 33 yards on 28 carries. They came in having averaged 202.9 yards rushing.

``They played well upfront,'' UCLA coach Jim Mora said. ``When we are at our best is when we can run the football. We couldn't find any room to the football. They played physical.''

Hundley was 26 of 50 for 329 yards and three touchdowns to set UCLA's season passing record with 3,740 yards. The old record was 3,470 by Cade McNown in 1998.

UCLA (9-5) lost its final three.

The Bruins were never in this one. Baylor raced to a 21-0 lead by early in the second quarter on Martin's 4-yard run and Florence's TD passes of 8 yards to Antwan Goodley and 55 yards to Tevin Reese.

UCLA punted four times and lost the ball on downs before getting a break when Baylor's Jordan Navjar fumbled after a reception when he was hit by Eric Kendricks, with Randal Goforth recovering at the Bears 21. Two plays later, Joseph Fauria caught a 22-yard pass from Hundley to pull the Bruins to 21-7.

Baylor quickly added two more touchdowns to put it out of reach at 35-7. Martin burst up the middle for his second touchdown of the game, a 26-yarder, and, after UCLA punted yet again, Seastrunk broke free for a 43-yard touchdown run with 1:58 left before halftime.

UCLA then converted two fourth downs, including a fake punt, to move to the Baylor 12 with 7 seconds left. On fourth-and-10, Mora opted to go for a field goal and Ka'imi Fairbairn converted from 30 yards.

Martin added a 1-yard TD run in the third quarter and Florence had a 1-yard scoring run in the fourth.

Martin had 98 yards on 21 carries.

Baylor rushed for 306 yards.

``We knew coming in that we could run the ball well, and the O-line did a heck of a job and made my job easy,'' Florence said. ``It makes throwing a lot easier.''

Hundley threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Shaq Evans early in the fourth quarter and a 34-yarder to Logan Sweet as the game ended.

Baylor (7-5) vs. UCLA (9-4)
Dec. 27, 9:45, ESPN

Here’s The Deal … The Holiday Bowl has a long and rich history of staging exhilarating, high-scoring postseason events. It landed a pair of combatants who are capable of adding a new chapter to the game’s healthy reputation.

Baylor and UCLA, which have never met in football, can both get up and down the field in a hurry. And both have vulnerabilities on defense. A shootout is inevitable. The Bears begin the postseason as one of the Big 12’s hottest teams, winners of three straight games to qualify for a bowl game. Heck, they’re the squad that kept Kansas State out of the BCS National Championship Game with a Nov. 17 stunner, before beating bowl-bound Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in thrillers.

Head coach Art Briles continues to do a terrific job in Waco. In the year following the departure of Heisman winner Robert Griffin III, his Bears lead the country in total offense, and are bowling for a school-first third straight year. Baylor hit some turbulence in October, dropping four straight games, yet regrouped in time to have a shot at transforming 2012 into an unbridled triumph.

Briles has weaved a solid year. Jim Mora’s has been better. In his first season at UCLA, the coach altered the climate in Westwood, turning his new team into winners. With the same talent that predecessor Rick Neuheisel couldn’t get out of neutral, Mora and his staff won the Pac-12 South, beating rival USC on the field and in the standings. Yeah, back-to-back losses to Stanford to close out the regular season kept the Bruins out of the Rose Bowl, but San Diego in December is still far more than the program expected when the coaching change was made.

UCLA is clearly headed in the right direction, getting to the brink of a 10-win season with a very young team. A victory in the Holiday Bowl, its most prestigious invite in 14 years, could set the stage for the program to take the next step in 2013 by winning a Pac-12 title.

Players to Watch: No single player epitomized UCLA’s surge in 2012 more than redshirt freshman Brett Hundley, who emerged as one of the Pac-12’s most dangerous quarterbacks.

Mora and his staff maximized the myriad skills of their young franchise, who has thrown 26 touchdown passes and run for nine more. He’s the linchpin of a balanced attack averaging 203 yards on the ground and 271 through the air. His favorite target is a massive one, 6-7 TE Joseph Fauria, who has turned 11 of his 41 catches into touchdowns. Hundley’s presence has also made life easier on Johnathan Franklin, one of the nation’s premier backs. The senior, finally buffered by a supporting cast, has piled up 15 touchdowns and more than 2,000 yards from scrimmage.

The Bruins are going to score on a feeble Bears defense. But Baylor is confident it harbors the firepower to keep up on offense. Who can blame it?

Briles’ attack really started to hum over the final five games, averaging 44 points. Nick Florence, Griffin’s one-year successor, can wing it around the field to an explosive corps of receivers that includes Biletnikoff finalist Terrance Williams, Tevin Reese and Lanear Sampson. However, the offense found a new gear once Oregon transfer Lache Seastrunk began to rip off long runs from the backfield. The one-time blue-chip back has game-breaking speed and vision, averaging more than eight yards a carry over the last five games.

UCLA will get burned on defense from time to time, but, boy, can it make up for it with momentum-changing plays.

Coordinator Lou Spanos has done a very nice job of crafting an attacking defense that ranks No. 7 nationally in sacks and No. 14 in takeaways. The faces of the new approach in Los Angeles have been a pair of linebackers, Anthony Barr on the outside and Eric Kendricks on the inside. Barr has wreaked havoc since moving over from running back, racking up 13.5 sacks to lead the Pac-12. Kendricks was one of the nation’s top linebackers in the second half of the year, finishing the regular season with a league-best 137 tackles.

Baylor will win if … the back seven picks up where it left off a month ago.

No, the Bears don’t win with defense, per se, but it’s no coincidence that the unit played markedly better during the team’s recent winning streak. In the first seven games, the D allowed 24 touchdown passes, and picked off just seven. Over the final month of the regular season, it yielded only nine touchdown passes, while intercepting 11 throws. Ahmad Dixon is a next-level defensive back, and LB Eddie Lackey had a pick-six in each of the last two games. Each time the Baylor defense makes a stop or creates a turnover, it ramps up the efficiency of the high-flying offense.

UCLA will win if … it doesn’t become careless with the ball.

The only thing that’s going to stop the Bruins in Qualcomm Stadium is itself. UCLA’s biggest worry is typically it’s O-line, but that shouldn’t be a major issue against a Baylor team that has just 10 sacks in 11 games with FBS opponents. The Bears are also allowing 4.7 yards per carry, which ought to mean a huge game on the ground for Franklin. Baylor is allowing 38 points a game, and has yet to face an opponent with better balance than the Bruins. If UCLA can play smart, P Jeff Locke may only come off the sidelines when it’s time to kickoff and hold for Ka’imi Fairbairn extra points.

What Will Happen: In what promises to be one of the more entertaining games of December, the Holiday Bowl will meet the expectations of those looking for fireworks and fun.

UCLA and Baylor are going to put on a show, with all of the offensive stars on display. The teams will trade blows and explosive plays out of Franklin, Hundley, Florence, Seastrunk and Williams. At some point, one team will need to make a stop in order to secure the win. And that team will be the Bruins. Although neither D will shine, UCLA has a few more players, like Kendricks, Barr and ends Datone Jones and Cassius Marsh, who can deliver momentum-changing plays. One timely takeaway or stop behind the line of scrimmage could prove to be the difference in a shootout likely to come down to the final drive.

CFN Prediction: UCLA 44 … Baylor 38
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) UCLA -1 O/U: 79.5

Holiday Bowl History
2011 Texas 21, California 10
2010 Washington 19, Nebraska 7
2009 Nebraska 33, Arizona 0
2008 Oregon 42, Oklahoma St 31
2007 Texas 52, Arizona State 34
2006 California 45, Texas A&M 10
2005 Oklahoma 17, Oregon 14
2004 Texas Tech 45, California 31
2003 Washington State 28, Texas 20
2002 Kansas St 34, Arizona State 27
2001 Texas 47, Washington 43
2000 Oregon 35, Texas 30
1999 Kansas State 24, Washington 20
1998 Arizona 23, Nebraska 20
1997 Colorado St. 35, Missouri 24
1996 Colorado 33, Washington 21
1995 Kansas St. 54, Colorado St. 21
1994 Michigan 24, Colorado St. 14
1993 Ohio State 28, BYU 21
1992 Hawaii 27, Illinois 17
1991 BYU 13, Iowa 13
1990 Texas A&M 65, BYU 14
1989 Penn State 50, BYU 39
1988 Oklahoma St 62, Wyoming 14
1987 Iowa 20, Wyoming 19
1986 Iowa 39, San Diego State 38
1985 Arkansas 18, Arizona State 17
1984 BYU 24, Michigan 17
1983 BYU 21, Missouri 17
1982 Ohio State 47, BYU 17
1981 BYU 38, Washington State 36
1980 BYU 46, SMU 45
1979 Indiana 38, BYU 37
1978 Navy 23, BYU 16