SAN DIEGO — Now, this could be a Holiday Bowl.
The Baylor Bears (7-5), whose offense ranks first nationally after piling up an average of 578.8 yards, face the UCLA Bruins (9-4) tonight in the game that calls itself “America’s Most Exciting Bowl Game.”
This game should more than ooze offense.
“When people predict a shootout and the head coach is standing up here talking about a shootout, if you’re a defensive guy, you bow up a little bit,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said Wednesday. “It’ll be a great night to be at Qualcomm watching football.”
Baylor senior quarterback Nick Florence, who replaced Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, leads the nation in total offense with 387.7 yards per game. Senior Terrance Williams is first in yards receiving at 147 per game.
The Bruins feature senior running back Johnathan Franklin and his 1,700 yards this season. He ran for 13 touchdowns and caught two scoring passes.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley is a dual threat, having thrown for 3,411 yards and 26 touchdowns, plus he rushed for 365 yards and nine touchdowns.
Baylor proved last year that it can be potent in the postseason. It piled up 777 yards in a 67-56 victory against Washington in the Alamo Bowl, which got Huskies defensive coordinator Nick Holt fired two days later.
The Bruins are coming off consecutive losses to Stanford, a 35-17 defeat in the regular-season finale, and then a 27-24 defeat in the Pac-12 title game.
Including victories against Washington State and USC, the Bruins allowed at least 27 points in each of their last four games.
“I don’t think I’m concerned about what happened in the last couple games, but I’m concerned about Baylor, certainly,” Mora said. “They put up points at a very fast pace.”