Baylor rolls UCLA, 49-26, in Holiday Bowl
At least UCLA finished with something sweet.
On the last play in regulation, Brett Hundley connected with wide receiver Logan Sweet on a 34-yard scoring pass to make the score a little-more-respectable 49-26 Baylor advantage.
Hundley completed 26 of 50 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
The defensive player of the game was end Chris McAllister of Baylor.
The offensive player of the game was running back Lache Seastrunk of Baylor, who ran for 131 yards and a touchdown.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is going to have a decent game statistically.
With six minutes to play, he’s completed 25 passes for 295 yards and hasn’t turned the ball over.
But he’s also been sacked six times and hasn’t been able to cash in on numerous scoring opportunities.
Hundley connected with Jerry Johnson for a 55-yard gain and the Bruins pushed the ball as far as the Baylor eight yard line on their latest possession. But on fourth-and-three from there, a Hundley pass intended for Joseph Fauria was batted away by safety Mike Hicks, who obviously knew what everyone knows by now -- when UCLA gets down toward the end zone, it looks for its 6-foot-7 tight end.
Baylor 49, UCLA 19 (7:46 left in fourth quarter)
There have been rumors that the San Diego Chargers might be interested in Jim Mora as their next head coach.
Really. There were rumors. Which goes to show that you shouldn’t spread rumors.
Mora has done a fine job in his first year at UCLA, but the Bruins aren’t making him proud tonight. They’ve been completely outplayed.
A quarterback sneak by Baylor’s Nick Florence has the Bears leading by 30.
It just doesn’t seem right.
Baylor has three turnovers; UCLA none.
UCLA has run 74 plays to Baylor’s 64.
But Baylor has 451 yards to UCLA’s 266 -- and a 42-19 lead.
Baylor is getting sloppy. Can UCLA pull off one of the greatest comebacks in Bruins history?
Lache Seastrunk was stripped of the ball by UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks and linebacker Jordan Zumwalt recoverd for the Bruins at the Bruins own 30.
But UCLA then quickly turned the ball over on downs.
There’s now 11:06 to play, Baylor leads 42-19, and Baylor has the ball on its own 31.
Baylor 42, UCLA 19 (12:25 left in fourth quarter)
UCLA’s defense has given up a bunch of yards, but it’s also given the Bruins some good field possession from time to time -- chances usually wasted.
UCLA didn’t miss this time, after a fumble recovery by Owamagbe Odighizuwa gave the Bruins the ball at the Baylor 35.
It took UCLA five plays to reach the end zone, the score coming on a 24-yard pass from Brett Hundley to Shaquelle Evans, who was wide open in the end zone after his quarterback looked off defenders.
The play was made possible by a three-yard run by Johnathan Franklin on a fourth-and-two play.
Hundley’s pass toward Jerry Johnson on a two-point conversion try fell incomplete.
UCLA then tried an onside kick and that too failed, Baylor has the ball at the UCLA 47.
Through three quarters of the Holiday Bowl, Baylor is better than average.
The Bears, who are averaging a nation-best 474.5 yards per game, have 429 yards and a 42-13 lead over UCLA.
Meantime, the Baylor defense, which was giving up an average of nearly 410 yards per game, has held UCLA to just 230.
Baylor 42, UCLA 13 (1:52 left in third quarter)
Baylor has outrushed UCLA, 246 yards to 38.
Glasco Martin scored on a one-yard plunge for his third touchdown of the game.
Baylor’s drive was 59 yards in seven plays -- all runs. The highlight was a 39-yard gain by Lache Seastrunk.
Seastrunk has 121 yards in 14 carries.
The answer is no. UCLA couldn’t take advantage of Evans’ run for good field possession.
Brett Hundley continues to look discombobulated at quarterback, underthrowing receivers when he’s not overthrowing them.
UCLA never advanced after Evans’ punt return gave them the ball at the Baylor 41. Four Hundley passes all fell incomplete.
Shaquelle Evans nearly gave UCLA that kind of spark it might need for a dramatic comeback.
But instead of breaking a punt return for a touchdown, he had to settle for a 43-yard run back that has the Bruins starting a drive at the Baylor 41.
Evans fielded the punt on a bounce and broke right up the middle of the field, through defenders on both sides.
Now we’ll see if UCLA’s offense can capitalize. The Bruins will start the drive with a little less than five minutes to play in the third quarter.
Baylor 35, UCLA 13 (8:18 left in third quarter)
UCLA is on a six-point run.
OK, so maybe that’s looking on the bright side.
Ka’imi Fairbairn has made a 40-yard field goal to cut UCLA’s deficit to three touchdowns, two point-after kicks and a two-point conversion (otherwise known as 22 points).
The Bruins miht have had more if quarterback Brett Hundley had not overthrown a wide-open Devin Fuller in the end zone on the play before the kick.
UCLA’s defense held on Baylor’s first possession, and sacked Nick Florence for the second time.
Interesting that UCLA would go for a first down when near midfield in a fourth-and-nine situation to start the third quarter, but not in a similar situation near the goal line near the end of the first half.
But since it didn’t work, maybe it was best that UCLA settled for that field goal at the end of the first half.
Quarterback Brett Hundley looked good on a couple of plays to start the third quarter, running for a 10-yard gain and completing a couple of short passes.
But the last three plays of the possession were all incomplete passes -- the last a deflection by Baylor linebacker Sam Holl as Hundley passed on that fourth-and-nine play.
Omen for UCLA?
An all-star band of high school musicians just finished their halftime gig with a redention of “Don’t Stop Believin.”
Hopeful quote of the half:
Asked by one reporter why UCLA had chosen to kick a field goal just before the break, another reporter replied, “Because UCLA is going to win, 38-35.”
Yes, he was kidding.
Brutal quote of the half:
About Jim Mora, who was trying to become the first first-year coach in UCLA football history to win 10 games:
Reporter: “Yeah, but he hasn’t won in more than a month.”
Sometime halftime stats as Baylor leads UCLA, 35-10, at halftime of the Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego:
Baylor quarterback Nick Florence has completed eight of 11 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns in becoming the Bears’ single-season passing leader -- supplanting 2011 Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Florence has also run for 23 yards, which would make him UCLA’s leading rusher.
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, who has been sacked five times, completed 12 ofr 23 passes for 122 yards in becoming UCLA’s single-season passing leader.
Baylor has a 168-26 advantage in rushing yardage, led by Lache Seastrunk, who has 73 yards and a touchdown in 10 carries, and Glasco Martin, who has 65 yards and two touchdowns in eight carries.
Johnathan Franklin, who entered the game averaging 130.8 yards rushing per game for UCLA, has 20 yards in nine carries.
Baylor has a 342-148 advantage in total yardage.
Baylor 35, UCLA 10 (halftime)
It’s never a good sign when your punter has been your most valuable player.
Jeff Locke has averaged 42.8 yards on five punts, and his nifty eight-yard run on a fake punt allowed UCLA to score just before halftime.
The gain kept a drive alive and UCLA scored with seven seconds left on a 30-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn.
Fairbairn’s kick came after a Baylor timeout that apparently gave UCLA Coach Jim Mora enough time to reconsider his strategy.
UCLA was lined up to run a fourth-and-10 play from the Baylor 13 when timeout was called.
Baylor 35, UCLA 7 (1:58 left in second quarter)
Lache Seastrunk had been pretty quiet for almost the entire first half.
Seastrunk just busted loose for a 44-yard touchdown on a draw play.
Before the play, he had been held to 29 yards in nine carries.
But lets not forget quarterback Nick Florence. He completed a pass for a nine-yard gain just before the touchdown run.
The gain gave him a school record 4,295 yards passing this season -- two yards better than what Robert Griffin did in winning the Heisman Trophy last season.
Baylor 28, UCLA 7 (4:36 left in second quarter)
The Bears are coming at UCLA from all directions.
A lot of quarterback Nick Florence, a little from running back Lache Seastrunk, some from receiver Tevin Reese, and more from running back Glasco Martin.
Martin just scored on a 26-yard run to complete a seven-play, 75-yard drive that took all of one minute 45 seconds.
The march was helped along by a personal foul call on Dalton Hillard for a hit on Florence.
Baylor 21, UCLA 7 (6:21 left in second quarter)
UCLA’s offense hadn’t been able to generate anything against Baylor’s supposedly terrible defense.
So UCLA’s defense put the Bruins in a situation that was nearly impossible to screw up -- and UCLA didn’t.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks forced Baylor’s Jordan Najvar to fumble after he had taken in a short pass from Nick Florence. Randall Goforth recovered for UCLA, giving the Bruins the ball at the Baylor 21.
After a one-yard loss on a run by Johnathan Franklin, Brett Hundley connected with tight end Joseph Fauria for a 22-yard touchdown.
The pass gave Hundley 74 yards passing in the game and moved him past Cade McNown for the most passing yards in a single season for UCLA. Hundley has passed for 3,485 yards.
Baylor 21, UCLA 0 (11:08 left in second quarter)
UCLA officially has its work cut out.
Nick Florence finally threw an incomplete pass -- but his pass after that was right on the money to Tevin Reese for a 55-yard touchdown.
Florence has completed five of six passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
His pass to Reese hit the receiver in full stride as he sprinted past UCLA’s Dalton Hilliard.
Florence also had a pair of runs before the touchdown pass. They went for gains of two and 18 yards.
UCLA didn’t do anything with great field position.
After a 37-yard Baylor punt and a three yard return, the Bruins took over at the Bears 45 but couldn’t score.
UCLA moved to the Baylor 25 on an 18-yard pass from Brett Hundley to Jerry Johnson, but that’s as far as the drive went.
On a third-and-10, Hundley was sacked for an eight-yard loss and the Bruins got only a nine-yard gain on a fourth-and-18 pass from Hundley to Joseph Fauria.
Baylor outgained UCLA, 140-25 in the first quarter.
Nick Florence has completed all four of his passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Brett Hundley has completed two of four passes for 15 yards.
Baylor 14, UCLA 0 (end of first quarter)
The Baylor pass defense is one of the big reasons the Bears are next to last in the nation in overall defense.
But the Bears secondary is doing the job on UCLA so far.
Brett Hundley just had all night to look down field on a third-and-11 pass play, yet he ended up taking a sack after he couldn’t find an open receiver.
Fortunately for UCLA, its defense stuffed the Bears on three plays after a 51-yard punt by Jeff Locke.
So the Bruins should be getting the ball in decent field position at the start of the second quarter.
Baylor 14, UCLA 0 (4:22 left in first quarter)
UCLA thought it got away without playing Oregon this year.
Baylor looks like the next-best thing.
Nick Florence not only can pass, he’s really nifty with the handoff fakes and has quick feet.
He just took the Bears 84 yards in seven plays for another touchdown. More than half the yardage came on a 38-yard pass in which he hit All-America receiver Terrance Williams in full stride down t the sideline.
Williams beat Aaron Hester and would have gone for 80 yards and a touchdown had Randall Goforth not just got enough of him to shove him out of bounds.
The touchdown was scored by Antwan Goodley, who pulled in a perfect eight-yard pass from Florence near the right corner of the end zone.
Steven Manfro is an exciting player. Stuff seems to happen -- good and bad for UCLA -- each time he touches the ball.
The kickoff after Baylor’s touchdown was a prime example.
Manfro weaved his way through Baylor defenders for 51 yards, giving the Bruins the ball at the Baylor 49.
However, he also fumbled -- as he is prone to do; it cost him the job as the Bruins’ punt returner earlier this year -- but officials ruled he was down when the ball poppsed loose.
Baylor 7, UCLA 0 (8:01 left in first quarter)
OK, that’s more like it.
Baylor’s second possession lasted six quick plays covering 53 yards and lasting just one minute 43 seconds.
Glasco Martin accounted for the touchdown on a four-yard run. He had 28 yards in four carries on the drive
Not a good start for the offenses. In their first possessions, each team gave up a sack.
UCLA’s possession was three going-nowhere plays, followed by a punt. Jeff Locke’s punt went for 50 yards, but Baylor will now work from its own 47 after a short return.
UCLA has the ball on its own 19 after stopping Baylor on the Bear’s first possession.
The Bruins defense did the job, even after a personal foul penalty gave Baylor a second chance.
Baylor had taken a delay of game penalty before a third-down play, but UCLA tackle Datone Jones hammered Baylor quarterback Nick Florence after the whistle.
Baylor takes over at its own 25 for the opening possession, after UCLA’s Jeff Locke drove the opening kickoff out of the end zone.
Baylor has won the coin toss with a call of tails, and the Bears have chosen to receive the opening kickoff.
With the nation’s top-ranked offense, they’ll try to make UCLA play catch up right from the start.
A four-member Navy parachute team just made a grand entrance to Qualcomm and a Marine color guard unfurled a length-of-the-field-size flag for the national anthem, which was punctuated by two blasts of fireworks.
The parachute team is called the Leapfrogs. The third man down carried an American flag, but the fourth drew the loudest cheer: he wore a UCLA jersey.
There’s no doubt this is a UCLA crowd. Baylor’s team received a loud round of boos as it entered the stadium. UCLA drew cheers.
The Holiday Bowl has a history of drawing good-sized crowds and tonight is no exception.
Minutes before kickoff, there are only a few completely open sections of seating.
Game organizers predicted UCLA and Baylor would draw about 55,000 fans to Qualcomm Stadium, which has a capacity of 71,294.
The Holiday Bowl has been played since 1978, and only once -- 1992, when Hawaii played Illinois -- has the crowd been smaller than 50,000.
UCLA enters tonight’s game with a 9-3 record, meaning the Bruins have a chance for a 10-win season for only the seventh time in the history of the program.
And Coach Jim Mora could become the first first-year coach to win 10 games.
The best record of any first-year UCLA coach was turned in by Terry Donahue in 1976, when the Bruins went 9-2-1. However, that team was crushed, 36-6, by Alabama in the Liberty Bowl.
In terms of winning finishes, UCLA was 8-2-1 in 1965, Tommy Prothro’s first year. And the Bruins defeated top-ranked Michigan State, 14-12, in the Rose Bowl.
When you talk about Baylor football, you talk about going from first to (nearly) worst.
The Bears lead the nation in total offense, averaging 578.7 yards per game.
And the Bears are next to last -- 119 out of 120 -- in defense, giving up an average of 513.9 yards per game.
A typical Baylor game features 82 points and nearly 1,100 yards in offense.
A typical UCLA game features 61 points and just under 900 yards in offense.
The over-under on this game in Las Vegas is somewhere more than 80 points on most lines.
I wonder what the over-under is on total punts. Three?
It is about 45 minutes before the scheduled start of tonight’s Holiday Bowl between UCLA and Baylor, which will be played under a full moon in a cloudless sky at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
UCLA is the slight betting-line favorite, by 2 ½ to three points, according to most books.
The key players to watch?
No debate about that: the quarterbacks.
UCLA’s Brett Hundley needs just 60 yards passing to establish a school single-season passing record -- and he’s only a redshirt freshman.
Hundley enters tonight’s game with 3,411 yards, trailing only Cade McNown, who set the record in 1998, the last season in which UCLA qualified to play in the Rose Bowl game.
And Hundley might be the second-best quarterback in tonight’s game.
Baylor’s Nick Florence, a senior, is averaging more passing yards per game than Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III did last season when he was the Bears’ quarterback.
Florence is averaging 343 yards passing per game; Griffin averaged 330.2.
Florence isn’t the runner Griffin was, but he’s no slouch, either. Griffin ran for 699 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games; Florence has run for 531 yards and nine touchdowns in 12 games.
TIMELINE: College football 2012-13 bowl schedule
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