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Russell Athletic Bowl Halftime: Baylor 28, North Carolina 17

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Those ground-poundin', maulin' Bears have more than 350 rushing yards in the first half and a double-digit lead over North Carolina at the half.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the game as a 3-point underdog, your Baylor Bears, as depleted and injured as they are, have risen to the challenge posed by the #10 team in the country in a BIG way, putting up more than 400 yards of offense and 28 points in the first half.  It was as dominant an effort by the offensive line, in particular, as we've probably seen in the Art Briles era to set a new Russell Athletic Bowl record for rushing yards (in a half, no less) and bounce back from going down 7-0 to outscore the Tar Heels 28-10* the rest of the way.

*And if the refs had brains in their skulls to know that helmets don't just pop on their own, the score might be 28-13 or even 28-10.

As upset as I am about the way that half ended defensively (and the fact that Chris Callahan missed another FG he absolutely should have hit), I can't help but be extremely impressed with the offense again.  After misfiring on the first drive due to switching to Lynx Hawthorne in a weird situation, Baylor scored on four consecutive drives, all going 67 yards or more.  Leading the way was RB Johnny Jefferson, who had 12 carries for 173 yards in the first half alone.

North Carolina gets the ball to start the second half, so the Baylor defense will have to turn it on to give the offense a chance to extend the lead once again.  The late success by Marquise Williams running the ball may inspire Bennett to put a spy on him going forward, or else they'll just gash us to pieces with designed QB runs the rest of the way.

Here's the complete stats from the first half:

Matchup
1st Downs 14 18
3rd down efficiency 8-10 5-10
4th down efficiency 0-0 3-4
Total Yards 200 424
Passing 96 66
Comp-Att 11-23 6-13
Yards per pass 4.2 5.1
Interceptions thrown 1 0
Rushing 104 358
Rushing Attempts 20 39
Yards per rush 5.2 9.2
Penalties 3-10 8-72
Turnovers 1 0
Fumbles lost 0 0
Interceptions thrown 1 0
Possession 13:20 16:40