Baylor’s first bowl game since 1994 did not end well for Robert Griffin III and the rest of the Bears. The Illinois Fighting Illini dominated the Bears throughout the entire game en route to a 38-14 Texas Bowl victory.
Mikel Leshoure rushed for 184 yards and three touchdowns, pacing the Illinois offensive attack. Leshoure added 21 reception yards as well, giving him 205 total yards against an overmatched Baylor defense. Illinois quarter back Nathan Scheelhaase was efficient, completing 18 of 23 passes for 242 yards. Scheelhaase didn’t throw a touchdown pass, but rushed for a 55 yard touchdown with 41 seconds left in the game, serving as the final dagger to Baylor.
Baylor struggled offensively all night, specifically on third down. The Bears offense converted only two of ten third downs. The Bears also lost the turnover battle, losing a pair of fumbles. Illinois did not turn the ball over once.
Leshoure was named the Texas Bowl Most Valuable Player, marking the second running back to win the award in the bowl’s five year history. Ray Rice won the inaugural Texas Bowl MVP when Rutgers defeated Kansas State in 2006. Leshoure’s MVP honors also interrupts the streak of quarterbacks winning the award as a quarterback had won the honors in each of the last three years.