Baylor took advantage of an injured UCLA offensive line to defeat UCLA 49-26 in the Holiday Bowl.
By RAHSHAUN HAYLOCKFS West
SAN DIEGO — Brett Hundley looked up and saw a sea of white. The
Baylor defense had just got to him again for the fourth time on the night. With more than 9 minutes still remaining in the first half.
It was to be expected considering center Jake Brendel was helped off of the field with an ankle injury earlier in the drive, Torian White suffered the same fate in the first half, and Simon Goines, didn’t start because of a knee injury.
For Baylor, it was like blood in the water. Bringing pressure with at least six guys on just about every play, the Bears dominated No. 17
UCLA from start to finish Thursday, winning the Holiday Bowl 49-26.
“I think Baylor recognized (that) we were down, not a man, but two men and they pinned their ears back and came after us and it was working,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said.
Added offensive lineman Jeff Baca, “They really aren’t a pressure team much at all, and I don’t know why that is, but once they saw they were having success with the pressure, once we had some injuries, you just keep calling it at that point.”
Baca wound up playing three positions before the night was over, starting at right tackle before moving to right guard and then center after the injury to Brendel late in the first half.
In what was projected to be a shootout similar to last year’s Alamo Bowl, a 67-56 Baylor win over Washington, the Bears (8-5) were the only ones to hold up their end of the bargain. Not only couldn’t UCLA (9-5) keep up, it never got started.
On Nov. 17, the Bruins beat USC to improve to 9-2 and move within a win of tying the school record for victories in a season with three games to play. Not only did the Bruins fail to break the record, they lost three straight to end the season and fail to even tie it.
But not even during consecutive losses to Stanford did things come crashing down on the Bruins the way they did Thursday night. Hundley was sacked six times and the Bears defense registered 12 tackles for loss.
When the Bears defense wasn’t harassing Hundley and Co., the offense was running past them — literally. Baylor’s team speed on offense was too just much for the UCLA defense to keep up with.
Baylor wide receivers Terrance Williams and Tevin Reese broke free for long gains. Reese’s 55-yard reception in the second quarter went for a touchdown to put the Bears up 21-0.
“They [were] comparing us to Houston and [Arizona],” Williams said. “They just never seen a team play as fast as us.
“The moment we caught them off guard we set up the big play and that’s the type of offense we have.”
The running back tandem of Lache Seastrunk and Glasco Martin torched the Bruins for 236 of the Bears’ 306 yards on the ground.
Seastrunk, an Oregon transfer, showed the speed and agility that made him so highly coveted by Ducks head coach Chip Kelly during his short stint in Eugene on a 43-yard touchdown run to put the Bears up 35-7 with 1:58 left in first half.
“O-M-G is all I can say,” said Seastrunk of his touchdown run. “I turned it on and then, boom! . . . It really did slow down for me. It felt like it was The ‘Matrix.’”
The Bears led 35-10 at halftime.
Seastrunk finished the game with 138 yards and a touchdown, while taking home the Offensive Player of the Game honors. Glasco ran for three touchdowns.
UCLA could only muster 33 rushing yards on the night behind the patchwork offensive line.
“When we’re at our best is when we can run the football,” Mora said. “We couldn’t find any room to run the football tonight. Certainly, not having two of our starters (on the offensive line) is a factor but also a factor is the way they played.
“It was a tough night against a really good football team."