If you ever wanted to see two skillful college football offenses make the presence of two defenses look fairly pointless, Thursday night’s Alamo Bowl was your chance.
No. 15 Baylor and Washington obliterated bowl records – including those for combined points in a regulation bowl game and yards of total offense – in Baylor’s 67-56 come-from-behind victory in San Antonio, Texas.
“I'll say the Valero Alamo Bowl and ESPN got what they were hoping for tonight,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said after the televised matchup. “What a game. ... (Baylor wasn’t) the No. 2 offense in the country just for a fluke.”
Baylor, helped by a typically fine night from Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Robert Griffin III, had a FBS bowl record 777 yards of total offense. But the most-eye popping output might have come from Baylor running backs Terrance Ganaway, Tevin Reese and Jarred Salubi, each of whom ran for more than 100 yards, sometimes untouched for dozens of yards at a time.
Ganaway alone ran for 200 yards and five touchdowns. Griffin threw for a touchdown and 295 yards, and ran for 55 more and another touchdown.
The Bears needed the burst, having fallen behind by 18 points early in the third quarter before exploding for 29 points in that stanza and 14 more in the next.
Washington’s offense acquitted itself well in the slugfest. Quarterback Keith Price threw for 438 yards and four touchdowns.
Though offensive players created much of their success – making the right reads, running good routes, throwing crucial blocks – the defenses didn’t pose too many problems. Chris Spielman, a former NFL linebacker who was giving color commentary for ESPN, was beside himself by the third quarter, criticizing cornerbacks for forcing wide receivers the wrong way, lamenting huge holes in zone coverages and wondering how running backs could go so far without as much as a tap on the shoulder pads.
“I think what you saw is explosive offensive football, great job of coaching on the offensive side of the ball. That being said, I’ve never seen anything like it on the defensive side, to give up that many yards: 777 total yards given up by the Washington Husky defense,” ESPN's Spielman said after the game.
The teams set an FBS record for most combined points (123) in regulation in a bowl game. The record for most points in a whole FBS bowl game still stands at 125 (2001 GMAC Bowl, Marshall against East Carolina), but that included overtime.
Baylor and Washington also set an FBS bowl record for most combined yards of total offense with 1,397. The old record was 1,211, set in the 2005 Insight Bowl.
Baylor’s 67 points are the most scored by a team in FBS bowl history, surpassing Nebraska’s 66 points in the 2000 Alamo Bowl.
The Bears’ new FBS bowl record of 777 yards of total offense surpasses the 718 yards recorded by Arizona State in the 1972 Fiesta Bowl.