We won’t forget the 2011 Valero Alamo Bowl any time soon. After trailing 42-24 early in the third quarter, Baylor blitzed Washington with 43 second-half points. The Huskies didn’t go away, even leading 56-53 in the fourth quarter, but the Bears managed to come up with key stops late and converted for an electric 67-56 bowl victory.
The first half was a tail of two quarters, with Baylor marching up and down the field for three long touchdown drives and leading 21-7 at the quarter. Washington won the second quarter 28-3 behind four long scoring drives of their own.
An 80-yard touchdown pass from Keith Price to Jermaine Kearse improved Washington’s lead to 42-24, but from there it was the Terence Ganaway show. Ganaway scored the last five of Baylor’s six second-half touchdowns, but it wasn’t until the Bears managed to get the Huskies offense off the field in the fourth quarter that they sealed the win.
Baylor answered a fourth quarter Washington score with a touchdown of their own, retaking a 60-56 lead with 8:40 remaining in the game. The Huskies converted a 4th-1 at their own 31 and drove into Baylor territory, but they stalled out at the Baylor 39, failing on a 4th-8 Price incomplete pass – their first failed fourth down attempt after three conversions. The drive sapped over five minutes of clock, and when Ganaway reached the end zone for the final time, the Bears were kicking off with an 11-point lead and only 2:36 remaining.
Their squib kick was fumbled by Danny Shelton and recovered by Baylor, who ran off the rest of the clock. It was an anticlimactic finish to a game that seemed destined for last second dramatics, but Baylor will gladly take their first bowl win in 19 years and a victory that gave them a ten-win season and a possible top ten finish in the postseason polls.
The most ironic fact of the game was that Robert Griffin III, despite a solid performance, was not a statistical standout in a game where his offense scored nine touchdowns and a field goal. Griffin finished 24-33 for 295 yards and just one TD. He ran for one more and totaled 55 yards on the ground, but his backfield counterparts were the story.
Ganaway led the way with the five scores and 200 yards on just 21 carries, Tevin Reese and Jarred Salubi each totaled 101 yards – Salubi on five carries and Reese on two. Salubi also found the end zone twice. The lasting memory from the game will be Ganaway, Reese and Salubi breaking into the open time after time, as their collective 14.4 yards per carry attest.
If there is a second image that will stick with us, it will be the performance of Price. The Washington QB couldn’t rely on an explosive ground game like Griffin, so he did the damage himself. Price threw for 438 yards, completing 23 passes to seven different receivers. His primary target was Jermaine Kearse, who found plenty of open field to roam after catches and totaled 198 yards and one score. Devin Aguillar pulled in two more of Price’s four passing TDs.
Price also ran for three touchdowns, as he accounted in some fashion for seven of Washington’s eight scores. Chris Polk had the other, and Polk did give Price 147 yards of ground gains, but his relatively workmanlike 4.9 yards per carry couldn’t keep pace with Baylor’s explosive trio.
The Alamo Bowl missed the all time bowl scoring record by a few points, but the two teams totaled a remarkable 1397 combined yards. Baylor accounted for 777 of those – 482 on the ground. There were just two first downs by penalty and two offensive turnovers in a game that will be remembered for its remarkable amount of offensive dominance.