Holiday Bowl: Baylor 49 UCLA 26

photo : Alex Gonzalez

By Alex Gonzalez

San Diego, CA — Baylor tailback Lache Seastrunk rushed for 139-yards and scored one touchdown and Nick Florence passed for 188-yards, breaking his school’s single season passing record as Baylor defeated number 17 UCLA, 49-26, in the 35th edition of the Bridgepoint Holiday bowl Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium.

On both sides of the ball, the speed of Baylor was too much for UCLA to handle. The Bears scored 35 points in the first half, second most to ’90 Texas A&M Aggies when they scored 37 against BYU. The Bears also sacked UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley five times before intermission.

“We knew we were bowl eligible and playing UCLA and we got on the film study, and me and Terrance and the others, we knew the sets that we knew how their linemen set, and we were able to take advantage of that in practice and our coaches set up good drills, and I think everything showed up on the field today,” said defensive end Chris McAllister, who was named defensive MVP.

Florence, who replaced Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III broke his single season passing record of 4,293 in the first half. Florence completed eight of 11 passes for 174-yards and threw two touchdowns.

His first came when he connected with Antwan Goodley for eight yards in the first quarter. The second came at the first of the second when he connected with Tevin Reese for 55-yards, putting the Bears up 21-0 in the first stanza.

“Best “O” line in America making the running lanes and the best backs in America running the ball,” Florence said. “Hats off to the “O” line, that’s all I’ve got to say, they deserve the credit, they have done a heck of a job this last half of the season.”

As a team BU rushed for 306-yards and scored five touchdowns. Seastrunk lead the team with 138-yards on 16 carries and one score. Glasco Martin added 98 yards on 21 carries and three scores before night’s end.

“I can’t tell you enough how the “O” line has been doing their job,” said Seastrunk, who was named offensive MVP. “It started in the film room, I was with my linemen after hours breaking down film and I felt like that pushed us over the tipping point is just our studying, our knowledge of what they were going to do, what kind of stunts they were going to do, I feel like it played a big factor and not to mention Nick taking pressure off me as well as the receivers. So I feel like they opened me up and allowed me to do what I had to do.

UCLA, winners of the Pac-12 south exceeded expectations for first year head coach Jim Mora Jr. who went 9-4 before Thursday’s night game.

“Tonight showed us how far we have to go but we’re determined to get there and we’re heading in the right direction but we’re a long ways off, we will fight our tails off to get there,” said Mora. “We’ve got a long way to go, and we knew that. But we’re on the right path. We’re going to continue to work hard. We’re going to continue to add quality football players to this team.

The Burins staple of their offense, Johnathan Franklin struggled finding running lanes against the stronger Baylor front four. Franklin carried the ball 14 times for 31 yards. As a team UCLA rushed for 33 yards on 28 carries.

Even with 50 passing attempts, a new bowl record, UCLA’s Brett Hundley completed 26 passes and threw three touchdowns. Aside the touchdown passes, Hundley was consistently under pressure and was sacked six times.

“It is what it is, I don’t feel the pressure,” said Hundley. “I got to play my game and make sure I’m on top of the offensive line and they’re trying their best and I got to help them out by making something happen or just throwing the ball where it needs to be.”

UCLA ends their season on a three game losing streak going in to winter and Baylor ends their season on a four game winning streak and first back to back bowl wins since 1986.

Local Notes: Former Arcadia linebacker Todd Golper concluded his career for the Bruins and former Apache standout Taylor Lagace suited up for the game but did not play. Lagace redshirted the 2012 season. Monrovia alum Ellis McCarthy watched the game in street clothes with a knee injury.

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