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Valero Alamo Bowl Game Preview: Baylor vs. Washington
For the second straight year the Huskies will play in a bowl game and will try and make it two bowl wins in a row; this year they will have to get past Heisman winning dual-threat quarterback Robert Griffin III to do so.
The Huskies started the season 6-2 and were threatening to win the Pac-12 North before losing three of their final four, settling for third in the division behind Stanford and eventual conference champion Oregon. Washington has one of the most underrated and lesser talked about QBs in the country in Keith Price. Price ended the regular season 12th in the FBS in QB rating at 157.92, 14th with 29 passing touchdowns, and 16th in completion percentage at 67.4%. He threw for a total of 2625 yards and had 11 interceptions. Chris Polk rushed for 1,341 yards, good for 15th most in the nation and scored 11 touchdowns on the ground while adding 324 receiving yards and catching four more TDs.
Washington’s weakness is the defense, ranked near the bottom statistically in all major categories, but does have a couple bright spots both with 15 forced fumbles with 12 recoveries, and 34 sacks. LB Cort Dennison led the Pac-12 with 113 tackles, while DB Sean Parker registered 76 tackles, tied at 14th in the conference and DL Josh Shirley was tied for seventh with 5.5 sacks.
Griffin III had a monster 2011 completing 72.4% of his passes for 3998 yards, 36 touchdowns to only six interceptions, and is on pace to break the QB rating record with an astounding 192.31 going into the bowl game.
Along with his outstanding passing numbers, Griffin III also made plays with his legs, adding 644 yards and nine TDs on the ground. With one year left of eligibility, the Heisman trophy winner has yet to make a decision whether he will stay at Baylor or forego his final year to enter the NFL Draft. Most expect a decision following the bowl game. RG3’s favorite target this season was Kendall Wright who was second in the nation in total yards (1572) and yards per game (131) and sixth in receptions (101) and touchdowns (13).
Art Briles’ spread offense allowed more than just Griffin III to run the ball as Terrance Ganaway averaged 5.9 yards per carry with 16 touchdowns and totaling an FBS 14th-best 1,347 yards. Defensively, the Baylor squad has been dismal to put it mildly allowing 35.7 points per game (109th in the FBS), 198.67 rushing yards per game (102nd), 278.8 passing ypg (112th) and 477.5 total yards (114th). Sam Holl has 102 tackles while Elliot Coffey and Mike Hicks have 99 tackles each, good for the fourth and sixth (tied) most in the Big 12, respectively.
Dory LeBlanc, covers Gator sports for Gators First and BourbonMeyer.com. Not just a college sports enthusiast, Dory is also a fan of NFL, NHL, NBA, and MLB. Born outside Philly, she moved to Tampa, and now resides in Illinois, giving her a broad perspective on the sporting world. You can follow Dory on twitter @DoryLeBlanc
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