USA TODAY Sports
After going up 35-10 at the half, Baylor salted away a rout in the second, finishing the game with a 49-19 (as it should be) victory over the UCLA Bruins. Everything went right for the Bears tonight in an absolutely dominant win across the board.
Before the game, I predicted a 45-35 Baylor victory. I wasn't that far off on what our offense would do, but I grossly underestimated our defense, which showed up tonight in a huge way. The total yardage stats don't reflect how utterly one-sided this game was basically from start-to-finish, and I couldn't be happier for our 2012 seniors (guys like Nick Florence, Terrence Williams, Ivory Wade, Gary Mason, Jr., Nick Johnson, and Mike Hicks, among others). They came to Baylor believing in the possibility of doing something grand. They leave having made those hopes reality. Tonight, they tore asunder a favored UCLA team in every possible way, showing a national audience exactly what Baylor Football is all about. This game, as well as those preceding it, didn't happen by accident, and the guys I mentioned deserve enormous credit not only for their performances on the field, but for the example they've set to their teammates donning the green and gold (and white!) behind them and following in their footsteps.
In the weeks that come, we're going to talk a lot about 2013 and beyond as this program looks to the future. In the short term, the 2013 recruiting class-- Baylor's best in a generation-- will probably take priority. In the long, we'll look at what this team loses and how we can turn 3 bowl games in a row into 4, 5, and so on. The questions for the future are legion: will Bryce Petty or Seth Russell be Art Briles' next record-breaking QB? Will Lache Seastrunk fulfill his immense promise side-by-side with Glasco Martin? Will our defense build on tonight's performance going into a season looking better by the week? In time, all will be known For now, I'm going to focus on the 2012 Baylor Bears, who lost the best QB, RB, and WR (the last two might be overstatements but whatever) in school history and arguably improved. This team finished 8-5 after starting 3-4. When everything looked at its worst, they responded with their best. Nobody wants to play the Baylor Bears today, and that's the best possible praise I think a team can get.