The 2022 Baylor Football season is done. This final game, the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl, couldn’t have been more different than the close of the 2021 season. Baylor went from playing at an indoor, NFL stadium to playing in a scene from “The Day After Tomorrow” inside their most hated rival’s stadium. In one of the coldest bowl games in history, Baylor fell to Air Force 30-15. The loss feels like the final, expected blow after a tough few weeks for the Baylor program.
Air Force did exactly what they wanted in this game. Run the football. Control the Clock. Play Defense. The most telling stat in the loss was 276-42, the difference in rushing yards between the two teams. Air Force ran the ball 67 times for 4.1 yards per carry, led by Brad Roberts who had 37 carries for 116 yards and 2 TDs. Quarterback Haaziq Daniels added 81 yards and a TD on 15 carries, and threw for another 103 while also adding a TD. The Falcons gained a total of 379 yards and held on to the ball for over 40 minutes of game time. It was total domination against a defense run by Dave Aranda, after the firing of DC Ron Roberts before the bowl game.
Offensively, Baylor did nothing. The team totaled only 230 yards, and only ran 49 plays. Air Force ran 74. Baylor’s leading rusher was Sqwirl Williams, with 25 yards. Richard Reese and Qualan Jones combined for 24 yards. There was only a couple bright spots in the box score. Gavin Holmes managed to pull in 4 catches for 47 yards and a touchdown, and Josh Cameron added 3 catches for 56 yards.
Quarterback Blake Shapen struggled. The wind and cold did nothing to help, as Shapen completed less than 50% of his passes, going 11 for 23 for 188 yards and 2 TDs. But this game isn’t solely on quarterback play. The offense as a whole seemed ready for the season to end. The defense played hard, but spending two thirds of the game on the field in arctic temperatures isn’t a recipe for defensive success. We’ve heard talk of complimentary football all season, there was none today.
The Armed Forces Bowl, played in Fort Worth, is officially one of the coldest Bowl Games ever pic.twitter.com/OW0RUQqu14— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 23, 2022
2022 is over for Baylor Football. The Bears finish with a 6-7 record. 50% of the win total from 2021. A lot of questions exist around this team, and there is an offseason to get them answered, but they must get them answered. The same sentiment existed after 2020, and the leadership on this team proved they could fix things. I have faith this staff can do that again. There is a lot to be excited about for 2023, but Baylor nation will be happy we can close the book on 2022.