For the first time in school history, Boise State will take on the Baylor University in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl tonight.
The Broncos are coming off another 10 win season and are looking to extend their current bowl win streak to 3 games. With that said, what can we expect from an opponent Boise State has never played before?
The Bears started the season off hot going 6-0 with a win over Oklahoma State. Then things took a bad turn for Baylor. The Bears would start a 6 game skid after a close loss to Texas.
Followed by three massive thrashings by TCU, Oklahoma, Kansas State, and Texas Tech.
Baylor would finish the season with a close loss to West Virginia. Despite sitting at 6-6, the Bears are far more than they appear. This Baylor team is more or less the same squad that notched up 10 wins last season. A season that included wins over two top ten programs.
The Bears offense was led by senior Seth Russell. Russell led Baylor to a 6-0 start on the season then lost two before taking a season ending injury against Oklahoma in the third quarter.
Since then the Bears have been led by freshman quarterback, Zach Smith. Smith is coming into the bowl game having completed 88 of his passes for 56%. The freshman has also tacked on 10 touchdowns on the season with 8 coming in the last three games.
Since starting, Smith has yet to have a game with less than 240 yards.
Complementing Smith is a talented receiver corp that includes two stars in KD Cannon and Ishmael Zamora.
Cannon is closing in on 1,000 yards with 989 so far off of 73 receptions. Zamora is sitting at 786 total yards off of 58 receptions. Both are averaging over 13 yards a catch. The two have accounted for 18 of the 30 total receiving touchdowns. Behind these two big targets are sophomore Chris Platt and freshman Blake Lynch. Platt is averaging over 16 yards a reception with 485 total yards and just 29 receptions. Lynch is at 404 yards a reception off of just 34 receptions.
Baylor’s running game is just as potent and dangerous. The Bears are sporting a deep back field with four potential options. Their top running back is sophomore Terence Williams. Williams is closing in on 1,000 rushing yards for the season off of just 160 carries.
Terence has accounted for 11 of the teams total rushing touchdowns. Behind Williams is Shock Linwood. Linwood is equally as dangerous having tallied up 786 total yards off of 138 carries.
The Baylor defense has struggled as of late. While they ended the season with a tough showing against West Virginia, the Bears gave up over 40 points in 4 of their last 6 match-ups. In two of those match-ups Baylor’s defense gave up over 50 points, including 62 to TCU.
That doesn’t mean that the Broncos should sleep on them. This is a team that is fully capable of playing at a high caliber and just recently got a shot of new energy with the hiring of new head coach, Matt Rhule.
This will surely be a fun match-up for both fan bases as this is the first time the programs are meeting. Boise State has been fairly successful against the Big 12 and will look to continue that success.