Grades: Baylor 49, UCLA 26
December, 27, 2012
By Peter Yoon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- In a game that was supposed to feature lots of offense, only one team lived up to its end of the bargain. Baylor routed UCLA, 49-26, Thursday night in the Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium. Here's how the Bruins graded out:
Brett Hundley's 51.1 completion percentage was his lowest of the season. He passed for 329 yards and three touchdowns but had trouble making decisions. It didn't help that he was under pressure all game. The Bruins' depleted offensive line gave up six sacks against a defense that was barely averaging one per game this season.
Johnathan Franklin had only 34 yards on 14 carries, his lowest total of the season. The Bruins, behind a makeshift offensive line, rushed for only 35 yards as a team -- also the fewest for UCLA this season. The Bruins averaged only 1.2 yards per carry against a Baylor defense that had been giving up 190 yards per game and 4.74 per carry.
UCLA's secondary was burned for a couple of long plays early, which set the tone of the game as receivers Tevin Reese and Terrance Williams outran the coverage. The Bruins tightened, however, and Baylor quarterback Nick Florence completed only 10 of 13 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Reese and Williams had each had two catches for 68 yards and UCLA sacked Florence only twice.
Missed tackles plagued UCLA's defense for the entire game as the Bears rushed for 306 yards -- 46 more than any other team against UCLA this season. Lache Seastrunk had 138 yards and a touchdown in 16 carries. Glasco Martin added 98 yards and three touchdowns in 21 carries, providing a potent 1-2 punch UCLA couldn't stop.
A 51-yard kickoff return by Steven Manfro was easily UCLA's biggest play of the game. The second longest was a 43-yard punt return by Shaq Evans. Jeff Locke had two punts of 50 yards or more and put three inside the 20. Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn had field goals of 30 and 40 yards.
Play calling and decisions on whether to go for it or kick field goals were questionable throughout the game, but the real issue was preparation. With nearly a month between games, the Bruins had no schematic answers for Baylor's potent offense and could not come up with an offensive plan to exploit one of the worst defenses in the nation.