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Final Score from Orlando: Baylor 49, North Carolina 38

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After losing 3 of their last 4 games, the Baylor Bears set all kinds of rushing records tonight in a dominant victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels to close out the season on a high note.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

I can summarize this game pretty easily with one stat: Johnny Jefferson began the game with 701 yards rushing on the season.  He finished it with exactly 1,000 (and an MVP trophy, to boot).

On the whole, Baylor ran up an astronomical 646 yards on 86 carries, scoring 7 TDs and breaking the following records along the way:

  • Most rushing yards in a bowl game-- period.
  • Most combined yards in a bowl game -- period.
  • Most rushing yards in a single game -- Baylor record.
  • Most rushing TDs in a game -- Baylor record.
  • Most rushing yards in the Russell Athletic Bowl -- obviously.
  • Most yards in a Russell Athletic Bowl.
  • Most points in a Russell Athletic Bowl.

I think that's it, but I might have missed a few.  Also, the aforementioned Johnny Jefferson, by virtue of his MVP-earning 299 yards, set a new Baylor single-game rushing record himself.

All things considered, Baylor finished this season with one of the most impressive performances of the Art Briles era.  Everyone in that stadium knew that the Bears, down our biggest playmakers and top 2 QBs, were going to have to run the ball to have any chance.  Baylor responded with the best rushing performance in bowl history on the backs of an absolutely dominant offensive line and a breakout star at RB.

Our coaching staff, derided by some for past bowl performances, should get a ton of credit for putting together a phenomenal game plan to utilize what talent they had left and preparing the team to execute it against a good North Carolina team that finished one penalty on an onside kick from possibly knocking off the #1 team in the country.  The whole team should get a ton of credit for responding to losing 3 of their last 4 games of the season with this kind of performance, earning the third 10-win season in a row.

Congrats to the team on a great win tonight, and get ready for an epic Tweets post later!

Players of the Game:

RB Johnny Jefferson -- 23 carries for 299 yards and 3 TDs, 1 pass for 24 yards
LB Aiavion Edwards -- 17 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack, 1 FF

The Entire Offensive Line -- 84 carries for 645 rushing yards and 7 TDs.  Enough said.

Play of the Night:

Johnny Jefferson 80-yard Touchdown

WATCH: Here's Johnny.... Jefferson houses it from 80 yards out. Now with 259 yards and 3 TDs on 15 carries. #SicUNC

Posted by Baylor Athletics on Tuesday, December 29, 2015

This was one of the wrinkles Baylor put in for the #WildBear offense, and it worked beautifully. The jet sweep action has basically the entire defense moving right-to-left, then Jefferson beats them across to the wide side of the field where only CBs (w/ their blockers) are left.  Then it's just a footrace.

Final Stats:

Matchup
1st Downs 28 37
3rd down efficiency 9-13 10-17
4th down efficiency 0-0 4-6
Total Yards 487 756
Passing 243 111
Comp-Att 22-36 10-18
Yards per pass 6.8 6.2
Interceptions thrown 1 1
Rushing 244 645
Rushing Attempts 36 84
Yards per rush 6.8 7.7
Penalties 5-34 11-117
Turnovers 2 1
Fumbles lost 1 0
Interceptions thrown 1 1
Possession 22:54 37:06