Everybody wondered how Nick Florence was going to follow Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III.
He did it in spectacular fashion as he ended his career by hitting 10 of 13 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns to lead Baylor to a 49-26 win over UCLA on Thursday night in the Holiday Bowl.
Florence finished the season with a school record 4,309 yards passing to break Griffin’s record of 4,293 yards set last season.
“All you want is a chance and an opportunity, and I just happened to follow a Heisman Trophy winner,” Florence said. “So I had to go out and be me. I’m not 6-3 and I can’t run a 4.3, you saw that tonight. I hope when people look at me and see what I’ve done that it’s always a team-first mentality.”
Seastrunk sensational in San Diego
With his 138-yard performance against the Bruins, Baylor sophomore running back Lache Seastrunk was named the game’s offensive MVP.
It also gave him 1,012 yards rushing for the season, making him the third Baylor rusher to surpass 1,000 yards in the last three years following Jay Finley in 2010 and Terrance Ganaway last season.
After seeing spot duty in the first half of the season, Seastrunk rushed for 831 yards in the final six games.
“I can’t tell you enough about how the O-line has done its job,” Seastrunk said. “I feel like they opened me up and allowed me to do what I had to do.”
Boldly making Baylor history
With last year’s 67-56 win over Washington and Thursday’s 49-26 win over UCLA, Baylor has won bowl games in consecutive years for the first time since 1985-86.
The Bears pulled off a 21-7 win over LSU in the 1985 Liberty Bowl and a 21-9 win over Colorado in the 1986 Bluebonnet Bowl.
“It sure makes the next five or six months a lot better,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “I’ve been on the other side of the coin.”
The 23-point win was also Baylor’s largest margin of victory in a bowl game, eclipsing a 15-point win over Utah State in the 1961 Gotham Bowl. The Bears won that game, 24-9.
Sack-happy unit picks up 6
The Bears collected six sacks against UCLA, their most since recording seven against Washington State in 2008.
Defensive end Chris McAllister was named the game’s defensive MVP with two sacks while Terrance Lloyd, Gary Mason, Eddie Lackey and Bryce Hager had one apiece against UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley.
Baylor had just 13 sacks coming into the game.
“Going into the game, we had to try to get pressure on their quarterback and stop their running back,” McAllister said. “I feel like we were prepared for the game. We had a good game plan and were able to execute it.”