Baylor Bears Prove They Are No Longer Door Mats By Destroying UCLA in Holiday Bowl

For years the Baylor Bears football program had not been something to be proud of. After the last two seasons that has definitely changed.

After not going to many bowl games over the last couple of decades the Baylor Bears are a team that was going to be happy with whatever bowl game they were invited to. When the opportunity arose to play a top 20 team in what would essentially be a home game for their opponent head coach Art Briles likely didn't hesitate to say yes.

Why would he? He had a very talented quarterback in Nick Florence, one of the top wide receivers in the game in Terrance Williams, a self-professed future Heisman candidate in running back Lache Seastrunk, and another quality running back in Glasco Martin.

Sure enough they were too much for the Bruins to handle Thursday night in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Florence led the Bears to touchdowns on three of their first five drives to take a 21-0 lead and never looked back. By halftime the score was 35-10 and the game was all but over. Baylor let off the gas in the second half and had trouble holding onto the ball, but still won 49-26.

This time it wasn't the nation’s leader in offense, Nick Florence that led the way, but the running game. Seastrunk put a stamp on his Heisman claim with 138 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries; Glasco Martin chimed in an additional 98 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries.

''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.''

On the night the normally pass-happy Bears hardly tried to throw, but what they did was effective. Florence completed 10 of 13 passes for 188 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was enough to give Florence 4,309 yards passing this season setting a new single season record for Baylor; the former record holder—Robert Griffin III with 4,293 during his Heisman winning 2011 season.

''For me, I just wanted a chance to play. I just happened to follow a Heisman Trophy winner,'' Florence said. ''…I just had to be me. I tried to manage this offense and play within myself…''

Part of Baylor’s trouble this season was their defense, one of the worst in the FBS this season, but you would not have known that from watching the Holiday Bowl. All season long the Bears only had 13 sacks; against UCLA they had six.

Going forward there will be holes to fill. Florence graduate, Williams is headed to the NFL, and the team loses four starters on defense. However, as one of the up and coming programs in college football it is doubtful the Bears will have trouble filling the holes.
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