Huskies score 56 points, but still can't beat Baylor
Bears rumble for more than 700 yards total offense
Seattle Times staff reporter
That was all-time ugly on defenseThursday's Alamo Bowl saw two records fall for bowl games and the UW run defense was especially bad.
Total yardage, 777 for Baylor and 620 for UW. The previous record was 1,211 in the 2005 Insight Bowl.
Total points scored. The previous record for a non-overtime game was 102 points in the 2001 GMAC Bowl (Marshall won 64-61 in 2OT, but it was tied 51-51 after regulation).
Average yards per rushing play for Baylor, which had three rushers surpass 100 yards against the porous Huskies.
SAN ANTONIO — Blink and you missed a touchdown.
But finally, it was the Huskies who blinked last, ultimately unable to keep pace with Baylor in a game that will go down in college football history for setting numerous records for offensive prowess and defensive ineptitude as the Bears pulled off an unbelievable 67-56 victory in the 19th annual Alamo Bowl.
"What a great game to be part of," said Washington coach Steve Sarkisian. "I thought our kids battled and competed and it was just a back-and-forth game, one of those crazy games that these guys will remember for a lifetime."
Indeed, it featured four lead changes as UW rallied from an early 21-7 deficit to take a 42-24 lead early in the third quarter to quiet a decidedly pro-Baylor crowd, only to give it all up and then rally again.
But needing one last drive in the fourth quarter to retake the lead yet again, UW faltered on a fourth-and-eight at the Baylor 39 with 3:20 remaining.
And when Baylor's Terrance Ganaway scored a few plays later on a 43-yard run — his fifth touchdown of the game — the game was finally decided.
"We just needed to tackle," said UW defensive end Josh Shirley. "The biggest thing in this game was tackling. That's something we need to work on for sure next year. We just didn't make the plays when they were presented to us."
Ganaway's final score was the eighth rushing touchdown for Baylor — which went away from the passing of Heisman winner Robert Griffin III as the game wore on to wear down the Huskies on the ground. The eight rushing touchdowns set a UW opponents record, one of many broken in the game.
Baylor's 777 yards total offense were a record against the Huskies, surpassing the 729 by California in 2003.
The game also was the highest-scoring in UW history, surpassing the Huskies' 120-0 victory over Whitman in 1919. And the points allowed were the second-most in UW history, surpassed only by a 72-3 defeat against Cal in 1921.
The game also featured the most combined points in regulation in bowl history, and 1,397 combined yards of offense, breaking the 1,211 of Arizona State and Rutgers in the 2005 Insight Bowl.
The Huskies finished their third season under Sarkisian at 7-6 — the same record as a year ago — having lost four of their last five games and with serious questions about the direction of its defense under coordinator Nick Holt, also in his third season.
Sarkisian said he would take the offseason to re-evaluate everything about the program — not just the defense — and "see if we can improve with what we have or if we have to go in another direction."
But he also somewhat defended the defensive performance saying, "I'm not shocked. Those guys averaged 571 yards a game. I'm not shocked that Baylor moved the ball. The disappointment came with the big plays in the second half. That's the ultimate disappointment."
He also admitted, though, that "There's a style of play in which I think we need to pride ourselves on playing, and that didn't happen tonight. That is the frustrating part."
The game began as a seeming coronation for Griffin, who led the Bears to a 21-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Then things really got crazy as the two teams began to gain yards and score points at levels rarely seen in any game at any level. UW went on a 35-3 run to retake the lead, then Baylor responded with a 29-14 third quarter to reclaim it, before a back-and-forth fourth quarter that was simply dizzying.
"That was crazy," said Baylor coach Art Briles, whose team finished 10-3, tying a school-record for victories. "It really was — that was crazy."
Washington scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions on drives of 73, 77, 57 and 56 yards — to take a 35-21 halftime lead and send the crowd into a stunned silence.
The Huskies began the second half in equally stunning fashion as on the second play of the third quarter, quarterback Keith Price evaded the rush and threw to a wide open Jermaine Kearse, who easily completed an 80-yard touchdown to make it 42-24 with 14 minutes left in the third quarter.
That gave UW five touchdowns in a span of 12:32, in which it outscored the Bears 35-3 to turn the game around.
The Huskies, leading 42-31, looked like they might have a chance to take even greater command after a Kasen Williams 46-yard punt return to the Baylor 13. But Chris Polk fumbled the ball away on the next play, and then Ganaway ran 89 yards untouched up the middle on the next play to help cut the lead to 42-39 and that reignited a quiet crowd.
Polk said his helmet came off on the play on which he fumbled, but also said "great running backs don't fumble in a situation like that. I really felt like right there I let my team down."
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta.
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