Led by their high-powered offense, the Baylor Bears upset the 17th ranked UCLA Bruins 49-26 in the 35th annual Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl. With the victory, Baylor finished the 2012 season by winning five of their last six games, including a four-game streak to end the season.
Despite attempting only 13 passes and throwing for 188 yards in the bowl game, Baylor senior quarterback Nick Florence set the Baylor single-season record for passing yards (4,309), eclipsing the mark set just the year prior by former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III (4,293).
The offensive fireworks came early and often for the Bears, who put up five touchdowns in the first half to take a commanding 35-10 lead at the break. Junior running back Glasco Martin kicked off the scoring halfway through the first quarter with a 4-yard touchdown run, his first of three rushing touchdowns on the night.
After two Florence touchdown passes put the Bears up 21-0 early in the second quarter, UCLA capitalized on a Baylor fumble, as freshman quarterback Brett Hundley connected with senior tight end Joseph Fauria two plays later to put the Bruins on the scoreboard. Hundley finished the game with an impressive line (26-50, 329 yards and 3 TDs), and like Florence, set the school-record for passing yards in a season (3,740). He passed Cade McNown’s 14 year-old record (3,470 yards).
From there, the Bears wasted no time in padding their lead. On the very next possession, Martin slid through the line of scrimmage for a 26-yard touchdown. After a quick three-and-out by the Bruins, the Baylor offense got the ball on their own 44-yard line with just over three minutes left in the half. Four plays later, sophomore running back Lache Seastrunk broke the game open with a 43-yard touchdown dash, stretching the Bears’ lead to 35-10.
Seastrunk finished the game with 16 rushes for 138 yards and a touchdown and earned the game’s Offensive MVP award.
The Bruins never mounted a serious comeback in the second half, with their final two scores coming in the fourth quarter. Their last touchdown came on a pass to Logan Sweet as time expired, which was upheld after an official review.
Fans in attendance witnessed a surprising defensive effort by the Baylor defense, which came into the game ranked 119th in the nation. Both teams were expected to light up the scoreboard all night, but the Bears’ defense shut down UCLA all-time leading rusher Jonathan Franklin (34 yards), and made life tough on Hundley all night in the Bruins’ backfield.
Baylor defensive end Chris McAllister won Defensive MVP honors as he contributed five tackles, including two of Baylor’s six quarterback sacks on the evening.