Thursday, December 29, 2011
Alamo Bowl: Three keys for Baylor
By David Ubben
We previewed the Valero Alamo Bowl early Thursday, and here are three keys for Baylor to win Thursday's game, which kicks off at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.
1. Win first down on defense. Baylor has 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-8 and second-and-12 situations 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 has 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 Baylor has to use it to build some early momentum.