A Baylor Bears offense known for spreading it out and stretching the field has transformed itself into a bludgeoning rushing attack that has the North Carolina Tar Heels backed into an unexpected corner at halftime of the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Down to third-string quarterback Chris Johnson, Baylor coach Art Briles has alternated five players under center, which includes a trio of running backs and wide receiver Lynx Hawthorne taking direct snaps. The Bears pounded away for a Russell Athletic Bowl record 358 rushing yards — in the first half — and four touchdowns for a 28-17 halftime lead over shell-shocked North Carolina.
The previous rushing record was 325 yards by Illinois in 1999 when the game was known as the Micron Pc Bowl.
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The Bears averaged 9.2 yards on their 39 first-half carries.
Running back Johnny Jefferson ripped off 173 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Backs Devin Chafin and Terence Williams combined for 17 carries, 115 yards and a touchdown, and wide receiver and punt returner Lynx Hawthorne had five carries for 47 yards. Nearly all of those carries came in the wildcat formation.
Baylor’s offense racked up 424 total yards in the first half compared with 200 for North Carolina, which got a late touchdown to cut into Baylor’s 28-10 lead.