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Baylor Beats Boise State; Bears Win Cactus Bowl!

The Bears end 2016 as champions

NCAA Football: Cactus Bowl-Boise State vs Baylor Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Baylor dominated Boise State in a 31-12 victory. The Bears finish the season 7-6 and Cactus Bowl champions.

The Bears took control of the game early. Zach Smith was accurate all night and finished 28 for 39 with 375 yards and three touchdowns.

In what will likely be his last game as a Bear before entering the NFL draft, K.D. Cannon was electric. Early in the game, Cannon had a 68 yard touchdown reception. And after that, Boise State feared Cannon would beat them deep and played soft coverage. Once that happened, Smith found Cannon on a number of solid gains. Cannon finished the night with 226 receiving yards and 14 receptions, which were both Baylor bowl records. Cannon also had two touchdowns.

Baylor’s defense had a phenomenal night as well. The Bears four man front limited the Broncos rushing attack to just 83 yards on 38 carries. The Broncos longest run was for just 11 yards. K.J. Smith found his way into the backfield, and Taylor Young was a force as well.

Orion Stewart went out with a wonderful game as well. Stewart nabbed an interception in the endzone, which stifled Boise State’s passing game. In the fourth quarter, a Broncos drive ended after Stewart recovered a fumble from Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien. And Stewart sacked Rypien on fourth down with 3:12 left in the fourth quarter.

The Matt Rhule era now fully begins. Rhule is tasked with quickly building a large recruiting class. But this game showed that Baylor has a lot of talent still on the roster. There will be plenty of time to talk about how Baylor will look when it takes the field in August of 2017. But what Baylor was in the final game of 2016 was pretty spectacular.