Baylor’s defense was one of the worst statistically in 2012, but it looked as though the Bears turned a bit of a corner last month when it physically dominated Kansas State’s offense and then-Heisman frontrunner Collin Klein.
Baylor built on that defensive success in a 49-26 Holiday Bowl win over No. 17 UCLA. The Bears held the Bruins to just 33 rushing yards, one third-down conversion on 17 attempts and less than 50 percent on fourth down conversions. UCLA’s two touchdowns* came when the Bruins started inside the Baylor 40-yard line after recovering fumbles. Had Baylor held on to the ball, it’s possible UCLA would have had fewer points.
(*Technically, UCLA had three touchdowns, but the one as time expired in the game was clearly short of the goal line.)
Speaking of points, Baylor had plenty of ’em. Art Briles‘ offense had 35 in the first half after running out to a 21-0 start. Though quarterback Nick Florence attempted just 13 passes he still broke the school’s single-season passing record for yards previously held by some guy named Robert Griffin III (4,293).
But the Holiday Bowl was Florence’s last game. Who takes over the offense next year is to be officially determined, but the Bears still have talent at skill positions led by Lache Seastrunk. The Oregon transfer is a self-proclaimed preseason Heisman contender next year, rushing for over 1,000 yards this season. He had 138 yards and a touchdown tonight.
This is beginning to feel redundant, but Baylor should be a team to keep an eye on for 2013. Briles’ name has been tossed around for other jobs, but he appears committed. If nothing else, the Bears should be an exciting team to watch once again.
If this is the last game Randy Edsall coaches at Maryland, at least he is making it count. Maryland may be down at the half, but the overmatched Terrapins are giving No. 1 Ohio State all it can handle it would seem. Ohio State holds a 21-14 lead on Maryland at the half, with big plays being the key.
Maryland struck first when Perry Hills connected to an open D.J. Moore down the middle of the field for a 52-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Ohio State would battle back, switching up the quarterbacks between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett along the way. The Buckeyes ripped off three touchdowns, with Barrett and Ezekiel Elliott each running for one and Jones throwing for the third, to Braxton Miller. Up 21-7, all seemed to return to normal for the Buckeyes, but Maryland cut the lead to seven late in the first half.
Hills broke free for a 75-yard run from the Maryland 22-yard line all the way down to the Ohio State three, and he finsihed off the quick touchdown on the next play with a short touchdown run. So Maryland continues to linger, which appears to be a theme with Ohio State’s opponents this season.
Jones has completed 15 of 20 pass attempts for 195 yards and a touchdown for Ohio State. Barrett attempted just one pass, which was good for a 20-yard gain. Elliott has just 25 rushing yards on 11 attempts at the half.
Nobody could have seen this coming, even after throwing out the records. A week after being ambushed by TCU, Charlie Strong and his Texas Longhorns looked like a completely different team in the first quarter against No. 10 Oklahoma in the old Cotton Bowl. Texas holds a surprising 14-3 lead at the half.
Jerrod Heard completed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Johnson midway through the first quarter. The Longhorns made it 14-0 when a break went their way. Lorenzo Joe recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score to make it 14-0 after Oklahoma had fumbled away the ensuing kickoff after the first score.
Texas outgained Oklahoma in the first quarter, 133 yards to just 15, and at the half (169 yards to just 85). Oklahoma went three-and-out on each of its two drives, and the Sooners had to punt four times before being able to put a dent on the scoreboard with a short 21-yard field goal by Austin Seibert after a 12-play drive stalled at the Texas four-yard line. Meanwhile, Texas was building a double-digit lead.
Without a doubt, the first half of this game was the best half we have seen from Texas in a while. Can they keep it going and score what would be a significant upset to get our day started?