Big 12: 2011 Alamo Bowl

You may have heard, San Antonio hosted a game for the ages on Thursday night, a 67-56 classic Baylor win over Washington in the Valero Alamo Bowl.

The two teams broke plenty of records, and thanks to ESPN Stats & Information, here's a look at exactly where the Bears and Huskies wrote their names in the record books.
  • The teams combined for 1,397 yards of total offense, which broke the FBS bowl record. The previous high was 1,211 yards, set by Arizona and Rutgers in the 2005 Insight Bowl.
  • The 123 points scored were the most in bowl history in regulation. The 17 total touchdowns were also a bowl record. The 123 points were 40 more than any previous Alamo Bowl.
  • The all-time record was 125 points, but that was a double-overtime game between Marshall and East Carolina in the 2001 GMAC Bowl.
  • The two teams tied a bowl record with 12 rushing touchdowns. They're tied with Texas Tech and Air Force in the 1995 Copper Bowl.
  • The 64 second-half points tied a bowl record.
  • Baylor's 777 total yards of offense is a bowl record, breaking Arizona State's record of 718 in the 1972 Fiesta Bowl. Not a bad way for RG3 to go out, if he does indeed enter the NFL draft. Baylor's 67 points were also a bowl record.
  • Baylor's eight rushing touchdowns tied a bowl record.
  • Bears running back Terrance Ganaway's five rushing touchdowns tied a bowl record for both rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns scored.
  • Washington QB Keith Price's seven touchdowns accounted for a bowl record, as did his 42 points. Four other players held the previous record, with six touchdowns and 36 points.
  • The 59 first downs between the two teams was three short of the record of 62, set by NC State and Kansas in the 2003 Tangerine Bowl.
  • The two teams were just short of the FBS record for points in regulation, set at 136 points in a 74-62 Navy win against North Texas on Nov. 10, 2007.

If you're not a defensive coach and can stomach it, here's the box score.

Instant analysis: Baylor 67, Washington 56

December, 30, 2011
12/30/11
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That was what we thought it would be, at least in the sense of an offensive explosion.

As Robert Griffin III said after the game, this had to be one of the most-watched games ever. Tons of entertainment, and Baylor gets a 67-56 win in a crazy night in San Antonio for the Valero Alamo Bowl.

How the game was won: Just when you thought defensive stops were an endangered species, Baylor dug one out of the depths of the Alamodome. Facing a 4th-and-8 at the Baylor 39 with just more than three minutes to play, the Bears rushed Washington quarterback Keith Price and forced an incompletion to get the ball back and ice the game.

Turning point: Chris Polk's fumble at the Baylor 11-yard line with 8:40 to play in the third quarter. Washington led 42-31 and forced a three-and-out, returning the punt 46 yards to Baylor's 17-yard line. On the next play, though, Polk coughed it up and Baylor recovered. On the next play, Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway ran 89 yards for a touchdown to get the Bears back in it. RG3 capped the score with a two-point conversion on a ... wait for it ... jump pass. What could have been an 18-point lead became a three-point lead in a flash, and Baylor turned a possible blowout into a win.

Stat of the game: This was easily the highest scoring Alamo Bowl ever, and broke the FBS record for total offense in a bowl game, with almost 1,400 yards. A whole lot of fun to watch, too. Baylor topped 400 yards rushing and Washington topped 400 yards passing. It surpassed the 2005 Insight Bowl between Arizona State vs. Rutgers. It was two points short of the bowl record for points. Marshall beat East Carolina 64-61 in the 2001 GMAC Bowl.

Player of the game: Keith Price, QB, Washington. Baylor's safety play was poor, but you still have to make the throws. Price made all of them, and then some. And then ran some more. He accounted for seven touchdowns, and didn't have a turnover. He threw for 438 yards and ran for 39 more. Did we just see the beginning stages of a 2012 Heisman campaign? Don't rule it out. A huge game for the impressive first-year starter. Not a bad replacement for Jake Locker, eh?

Unsung hero of the game: Baylor's offensive line. The big uglies up front cleared the way for a huge night on the ground that powered Baylor's offense. Bears quarterback and Heisman winner Robert Griffin III was good, but the running game paced the offense on this night in a lot of different ways. The Bears had three 100-yard rushers and RG3 wasn't one of them. Ganaway had 200 yards and five touchdowns. Jarred Salubi and Tevin Reese both had 101 yards and Salubi scored twice. Not a bad night on the ground.

Jeers to: Both defenses. These were two very good offenses. Let's be clear about that. But the defenses tonight? Good grief. The effort wasn't there. Receivers ran wide open all night. Holes for running backs were enormous. The tackling for both sides was atrocious and undisciplined. This wasn't necessarily more of one than the other, but there was a ton of great offense in this game and an equal amount of awful defense. One bright side: Washington had one penalty all night for 15 yards. Hard to get penalized when nobody hits anyone.

What it means: No defense is a whole lot of fun to watch. This was the most entertaining bowl game of the season so far, even if the defense was at times laughable.

Baylor also earned the program's first bowl win since 1992. Will RG3 return in 2012 for another run? He says he's undecided, but he'll have until Jan. 15 to decide whether or not he'll return for his senior season. Whether he stays or goes, he's done amazing things. He gave Baylor the school's first Heisman winner, and won 10 games in a loaded Big 12, giving the Bears their second 10-win season in school history, and first since 1980.

Alamo Bowl: Three keys for Baylor

December, 29, 2011
12/29/11
10:30
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We previewed the Valero Alamo Bowl earlier today, and here are three keys for Baylor to win tonight's game, which kicks off at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

1. Win first down on defense. Baylor's got to get off the field, and this is the best way to do it. If Washington can, it'd love to pound the ball with Chris Polk. Getting the Huskies into a lot of second-and-8s and second-and-12s can make sure that doesn't happen. But second-and-5? Not good. Worst-case scenario for the Bears. Bottom line: Washington's defense isn't equipped to slow Baylor's offense. It has to keep the offense off the field. Running the ball and milking the clock is the best way to do that. This is up to the Bears' front seven.

2. Keep the playbook wide open. This is what Baylor does. It can't stop. Let RG3 do what he does. It opened the game with a double pass for a touchdown against TCU to open the season, and beat Oklahoma with a barrage of deep balls. The Bears have had a month off. A lot's happened since then. None of it can change Baylor's approach. Break out the trick plays. Chuck it deep. This is what Baylor's offense is built to do.

3. Start strong. That'll be important in this one. Baylor's playing in San Antonio, and expect a heavily pro-Bears crowd in this one, as well as a crowd rooting on RG3. Look for some big play calls early and big plays to get the crowd involved. Baylor hasn't won a bowl game since 1992, and didn't come close last year, being shut out in the first half of a lopsided loss to Illinois in the Texas Bowl. Baylor's offense is a lot better this time around, and it's got to use it to build some early momentum.

Video: Alamo Bowl preview

December, 29, 2011
12/29/11
9:45
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Pac-12 blogger Ted Miller takes a closer look at the Alamo Bowl between Washington and Baylor.

Alamo Bowl: Baylor vs. Washington

December, 29, 2011
12/29/11
9:00
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Baylor will play the role of favorite and take on Washington in the Valero Alamo Bowl in nearby San Antonio on Thursday. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET in the Alamodome. Here's what to expect.

WHO TO WATCH: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor. Obviously. He's the game's most electrifying player and the Heisman winner, which you don't see very often outside the BCS. He's been must-see TV for most of the season, engineering huge upsets of TCU on the season-opening weekend, leading the program's first win over Oklahoma and knocking off Texas to win the Heisman on the season's final weekend. He's the nation's leader in passing efficiency, and, if you haven't watched, he's more than able to make plenty of big plays with his feet, too.

WHAT TO WATCH: Baylor's rush defense vs. Chris Polk. Baylor is a nine-point favorite, but if the Bears lose this game, it'll be because they lose this matchup in convincing fashion. It's been a weakness all year for the Bears, who rank 102nd nationally in rush defense. Washington did it to Nebraska last year, and Polk enters this game with 1,341 yards and 11 touchdowns. The best part for Washington about winning this battle is it would keep a dangerous Baylor offense, which Washington is ill-equipped to stop, off the field. This is the best way for the Huskies to do it.

WHY TO WATCH: You like points, don't you? If you're reading this, you probably have a certain fondness for the Big 12, and I'd like to think a fondness for scoring is implied there. There will be lots of that in this one. Washington's Polk and quarterback Keith Price are dangerous, but Baylor's RG3 is flanked by Kendall Wright and Terrance Ganaway, the Big 12's leading receiver and leading rusher. Add to that each team's ranking in scoring defense (Washington ranks 98th, Baylor 109th) and you'll see why there's reason to believe we'll see fireworks.

PREDICTION: No. 12 Baylor 47, Washington 31: RG3 doesn't give many clues as to his future plans, but he'll look the part of an NFL quarterback in this one, sending Wright into the NFL with a big day. We expect plenty of offense in this one, and both teams should deliver. Polk will rack up big yardage on a suspect Baylor defense, but the Bears will pull away late.

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