The Alamo Bowl is now just two weeks away, which makes it a good time to start learning more about UW’s opponent — the Baylor Bears.
I assume everyone knows all about Baylor’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback — Robert Griffin III.
Here are five other facts about the Bears you may not know:
1, As detailed in this ESPN.com story, Baylor set a rather amazing record this year by becoming the first team in NCAA history to win four straight games in which it allowed 30 or more points. That streak was broken when Baylor beat Texas 48-24 in its season finale. Obviously, that’s a stat that speaks both to the prowess of Baylor’s offense and the frailities of its defense. Baylor ended up allowing 30 or more points nine times this year, going 6-3 in those games. UW, by comparison, allowed 30 or more points seven times this year, going 2-5 (beating Hawaii 40-32 and Arizona 42-31).
2, Six times this year, Baylor gained 600 or more yards in total offense. Prior to this year, Baylor had only seven 600-plus yard games in its history. UW has only five in its history, the last coming in 1996 against San Jose State, when the Huskies had 734 (the famous Corey Dillon game). UW has also allowed 600 or more yards just six times in its history, the last coming this year against Stanford (615).
3, If there’s a stat UW’s defense can hold onto for hope, it’s that Baylor was just about unstoppable at home, but a little more vulnerable on the road. As this story notes, here are Baylor’s home point totals this year (adding in the season finale against Texas) — 50, 48, 56, 49, 42, 45, and 48. Here are Baylor’s road point totals — 35, 28, 24 and 31. The Alamo Bowl, though, figures to be a quasi-home game for Baylor, with Waco located roughly three hours away and tickets already going quickly. UPDATE — And apparently at least some Baylor fans read this as it’s been pointed out to me that the information I passed along had a minor error in listing the 66-point game against Texas Tech was a neutral site game.
4, Baylor punted just 30 times this year, three fewer than any other team in the country (Air Force, 33). UW, by contrast, had 50. The lowest in the Pac-12 was Stanford with 35.
5, As will be noted often leading into the Alamo Bowl, Baylor’s defense statistically ranked worse than UW’s in some key areas — notably, total defense as the Bears were 114th overall, allowing 477.50 yards per game. UW was 94th, allowing 426.33. What Baylor was at the end of the year was amazingly opportunistic, forcing 16 turnovers in its last four games, all of which it won as part of a five-game season-ending winning streak. In fact, each team ranked among the top third or so in the nation in turnovers. Baylor is 32nd in turnover margin, gaining 27 while losing 23, while UW is 42nd, gaining 22 while losing 20. It was a huge key to the Holiday Bowl win last year when UW forced an early fumble that led to a touchdown — Nebraska ended up with two turnovers to none for the Huskies. It’s difficult to envision UW winning this one without a similar edge.