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CFN Holiday Analysis - Baylor 49, UCLA 26

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 28, 2012


CFN analysis and thoughts on Baylor's blowout win over UCLA in the Holiday.

- Bridgepoint Education Holiday Baylor 49, UCLA 26

Baylor’s offense started humming right away, and it never let up getting out to a 21-0 lead and never being threatened the rest of the way. Nick Florence threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, while Martin Glasco ran for three short scores and Lache Seastrunk ripped off a 43-yard touchdown dash. UCLA tried time and again to get back in the – going for eight times on fourth town and converting just three – but the Bear defense always managed to come up with the stop it needed at the right time. The Bruins got three touchdown passes from Brett Hundley, but he was battered all game long behind a depleted offensive line that gave up six sacks.

Baylor: QB Nick Florence completed 10-of-13 passes for 188 yards and two scores, and he ran 18 times for 37 yards and a touchdown. … RB Lache Seastrunk ran 16 times for 138 yards and a score. … RB Glasco Martin ran 21 times for 98 yards and three touchdowns. … Tevin Reese and Terrence Williams each caught two passes for 68 yards with Reese scoring. … The Bears came up with 12 tackles for loss and six sacks. … DE Chris McAllister made five tackles with two sacks. … S Sam Holl made four tackles with four broken up passes.

UCLA: RB Johnathan Franklin ran 14 times for just 34 yards. … UCLA was held to 33 rushing yards. … QB Brett Hundley completed 26-of-50 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns. … The offense went 1-of-17 on third downs. … P Jeff Locke averaged 42.7 yards per kick putting three of the six inside the 20. … LB Eric Kendricks made 14 tackles with two forced fumbles.

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek


1) Baylor was hot at the end of the regular season. Bowls often have a way of halting organic momentum, so there was reason to believe that the Bears would become stale in San Diego against UCLA. Not so. The 25 days between the Dec. 1 regular season finale (against Oklahoma State) and this contest did nothing to reduce the Bears' effectiveness. This augurs well for Baylor's 2013 season, and it shows that the 2011 season was not an aberrational occurrence in Waco, Tex. Yes, it's true that Baylor won't produce 10-win seasons or Heisman Trophy winners every year, but the notion that BU needed Robert Griffin III to win eight games and capture a bowl victory has been blown out of the water. The point is plain: Baylor owns a measure of staying power under Art Briles.

2) UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone might have been surprised by the extent to which Baylor tackled well and hit hard on Thursday night. Most college football pundits were, too. Yet, once the shock of Baylor's strong first quarter wore off, Mazzone should have found a collection of pass plays that would have pried open gaps in Baylor's back line of defense. The inability to exploit Baylor's defense represents a disappointing conclusion to a generally solid year of work for Mazzone.

3) It's worth noting that on several occasions in Holiday Bowl history, the winner of a blowout has been the team from an outside region, or the team that had to travel a greater distance to arrive in San Diego. Oklahoma State annihilated Wyoming (the Western Athletic Conference representative) in the 1988 game. Texas A&M dismantled the WAC's best team, Brigham Young, in the 1990 Holiday Bowl. Texas Tech obliterated California in the 2004 event. Nebraska smothered Arizona in the 2009 Holiday Bowl. West Coast teams don't necessarily enjoy the upper hand when they come to the home of the San Diego Chargers for this postseason pageant.

4) Kansas State's lone regular season loss wasn't really that bad after all.

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

Without question, the Holiday Bowl is the biggest surprise of the postseason. Not only did the Bears pull of a mild upset, they did so by running the ball straight at the UCLA defense.

Tonight's decisive win by fifth-place Baylor over Pac 12 runner-up UCLA proves that the Big 12 is the deepest conference in the land. Aside from Kansas, there are no easy outs in league play.

The game ball goes to the Bears' defense. Baylor's D, which came into the game 119th in total defense, dominated the game, holding the Bruins to 0-for-16 on third-down conversions and 3-for-8 on fourth down conversions. That's an excellent effort against a UCLA unit that finished third in the Pac 12 in total offense.

Could Lache Seastrunk really win the Heisman Trophy in 2013 as he boldly predicted last week? After running for 138 yards tonight, it's certainly possible.

Yes, Nick Florence can play on Sundays. Sure, he doesn't have as much talent as his predecessor, but with tonight's performance, Florence set a school record for passing yards in a season. Given the success of Kevin Kolb and Robert Griffin III have had in the NFL -- who also thrived under Briles' system -- someone will give him a shot to make the roster next summer.

Despite tonight's blowout loss, UCLA football is moving in the right direction after capturing the Pac 12 South title this year. As long as Brett Hundley -- the lone bright spot for the offense tonight -- remains healthy, the Bruins should become a perennial contender for the conference championship.