Huskies brace For Griffin-led Baylor onslaught

Huskies brace For Griffin-led Baylor onslaught

Credit: AP

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III

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by Sportspress Northwest Staff

SportsPressNorthwest

Posted on December 29, 2011 at 12:01 PM

GAME: Valero Alamo Bowl. MATCHUP: Washington (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12) vs. Baylor (9-3, 6-3 Big 12). WHEN: Thursday,  Alamodome, San Antonio, 6 p.m. (PT). MEETING: 5th (Baylor leads 3-1). RANKINGS: UW unranked; Baylor 15 AP, 16 Coaches. LINE: Baylor by 9. TV: ESPN (also available on line at ESPN3.com); RADIO: KJR-950 AM, 102.9 FM

Featuring Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III (RG3),Baylor will enter the 2011 Alamo Bowl as an overwhelming favorite to easily dispatch theWashington Huskies, playing in their second consecutive bowl following a seven-year absence from postseason competition.

This marks Washington's first appearance in the Valero Alamo Bowl, the school's 32nd bowl game overall, and its fifth bowl game in Texas. The Huskies played in the 1979 (W), 1986 (L), 1995 (L) and 2002 (W) Sun Bowls, going 2-2. The Huskies are 17-13-1 all-time in bowl games.

T he Huskies have played 10 games inTexas against Baylor (0-2), Texas (1-1) Texas Tech (1-0), Houston (1-0), Alabama (0-1), Texas A&M (0-1), Iowa (0-1) and Purdue (0-1), going 3-7 in those games.

Oddsmaker optimism -- 10 points on some lines -- on Baylor's behalf rests with its offense,  one of the nation's most potent  -- 43.5 points per game (sixth nationally) -- while Washington counters with one of the nation's most porous defenses, allowing 33.3 points per game.

Working in Washington's favor is the fact that Baylor allowed 35.7 points per game. But Baylor has Griffin, who overtook Stanford's Andrew Luck in the final month of the regular season to snatch the Heisman Trophy.

Baylor holds a huge statistical offensive edge on Washington (check out the Washington-Baylor Yardstick). Since neither team can play defense, expect a high-scoring affair, maybe a ridiculously high-scoring one.

SERIES: Dates to Oct. 16, 1954, when the Bears pummeled the visiting Huskies 34-7 in Waco, TX. The teams have met three time since, most recently Sept. 25, 1965, also in Waco (for recaps of the four Washington-Baylor games, click on this link).

ALAMO BOWL: Launched in 1993, the Alamo Bowl is played in the 65,000-seat Alamodome in the heart of downtown San Antonio. Crowds of at least 60,000 have witnessed eight of the past 10 games. The Alamo Bowl traditionally is one of ESPN's biggest ratings grabbers.

PAC-12 IN ALAMO BOWL: Washington will become the fourth member of the Pac-12 (or its predecessor Pac-10) to play in the Alamo Bowl, following California (1993), Washington State (1994), Colorado (2002) and Arizona (2010).

UW IN 2011: Washington's 7-5 mark was a one-game improvement over 2010. Then the Huskies improved to 7-6 with a 19-7 victory over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Washington started 5-1, then sustained a 65-21 beating at Stanford, which led to four UW losses in a five-game stretch. The Huskies recovered in the final game of the regular season, defeating Washington Statein the Apple Cup, 38-21, at CenturyLink Field.

Washington ranks 36th nationally in scoring offense (31.5 points per game), 67th in rushing offense (152.0) and 51st in passing (240.3) . . . The Huskies ranked 94th (of 120 teams) in total defense (426.3), 99th in scoring defense (33.3) and 116th in passing defense (283.7) . . . Sophomore quarterback Keith Price set a school record by throwing 29 touchdown passes and ranks 12th nationally in passing efficiency at 159.9 . . . Junior Chris Polk set a school record (against Washington State) with his 20th career 100-yard game, and ranks 16th nationally at 111.7 yards per game. Polk joined Napoleon Kaufman as the only runners in UW history with three 1,000-yard rushing seasons . . . Senior Cort Dennison led the Pac-12 in tackles.

Baylor in 2011: The Bears won their first three games, lost to Kansas State 36-35 in Manhattan KN., beat Iowa State, dropped a pair to Texas A&M and Oklahoma State, then ran the table against Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas.

Baylor averaged 43.5 points per game (sixth in the country) and allowed 35.7, 109th nationally; averaged 571.2 yards per game and allowed 477.5, 114th nationally . . . Griffin, the Heisman Trophy winner, averaged 386.8 yards per game in total offense, No. 2 nationally, and had a passer efficiency rating of 192.3, which led the NCAA. Griffin threw for 3,998 yards and 36 touchdowns.

UW IN BOWLS: Washington is 17-13-1 in 31 bowl appearances.

BAYLOR IN BOWLS: The Bears have appeared in 17 bowl games, going 8-9. The Bears played in the 2010 Texas Bowl and lost to Illinois 38-14. Baylor also played in the 1994 Alamo Bowl, losing to Washington State, 10-3.

OTHER PAC-12 TEAMS IN 2011 BOWLS (chronologically): Arizona State, operating under fired head coach Dennis Erickson, lost to Boise State 56-24 in the Las Vegas Bowl Dec. 22; California will play Texas Wednesday in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. After Washington plays Baylor, Utah will play Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl Dec. 31 in El Paso, TX.; UCLA will play Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Dec. 31 in San Francisco; Wisconsin will play Oregon in the Rose Bowl Jan. 2 in Pasadena; Stanford will play Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 2 in Glendale, AZ.

COACHES: Steve Sarkisian is in his third season as head coach of the Huskies. A former USC assistant under Pete Carroll, Sarkisian has a 19-18 record at Washington (including bowls). Sarkisian is taking the Huskies to their second consecutive bowl.

Art Briles:Head coach since 2008, Briles was previously head coach at the University of Houston from 2003-07. In 2010, he led the Bears to a 7-6 record and the school's first bowl game in 16 years. Briles is a native of West Texas.

UW NOTES: Baylor will be the fifth ranked opponent this season. The Huskies are 0-4 . . . Having reaching a bowl game for the second straight year just three years removed from a winless season (0-12, 2008), the Huskies are just the eighth team in the past 50 years to go from winless to two bowl games in a three-year span. The others: Central Florida, Navy, South Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, Florida and UTEP . . . Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins earned a spot on the first team of three Freshman All-America squads and made the second team on another. Seferian-Jenkins, a true freshman from Fox Island, WA. (Gig Harbor High), was named a first-team Freshman All-America by CBSSports.com, College Football News and FoxSportsNet, while making the second team from Yahoo (which didn't list a first-team tight end). Classmate Kasen Williams (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) earned honorable mention from College Football News.

BAYLOR NOTES: After winning the Heisman Trophy, Griffin was named Player of the Year by The Sporting News. His selection by the periodical marked his ninth first-team All-America selection of 2011 . . . Griffin was also a first-team All-America choice by The Associated Press, Sporting News, CBSSports.com, SI.com, Yahoo!/Rivals.com, Phil Steele, FoxSportsNet.com, Walter Camp and Football Writers Association of America . . . Griffin also won the Davey O'Brien award . . . Only two players in Baylor history have been consensus All-America twice, the last LB Mike Singletary in 1979-80 . . . Griffin's favorite target, Kendall Wright, made second-team All-America (Associated Press) . . . Baylor sold out its allotment of Alamo Bowl tickets by Dec. 15.

ART THIEL'S TAKE: Coaches love extra bowl practices not only for player development, they love to experiment with schemes and personnel, because bowls are one-and-done. Washington's fans should hope Sarkisian practiced this one: 11 defenders standing in their end zone. All game. The UW defense is going to be there anyway. They might as well work on tip drills.

Baylor has the nation's best, most relentless passing attack,  led by the Heisman Trophy winner playing his last game for a program that has been a Texas football backwater. The Bears have the home-state crowd in San Antonio and the desire to go out with a massive statement. They lucked out in  drawing an opponent that probably has the worst pass defense of any team in a bowl. Texans love fireworks too. Huskies fans might want to tuck this night away quickly and start looking to letter-of-intent day. Baylor 66, Washington 41.

STEVE RUDMAN'S TAKE: Washington featured one of the school's most potent offenses in 2011, averaging more than 30 points per game. But it absolutely pales into inconsequence next to what Baylor accomplished.

Washington scored 378 points in 12 games. Baylor scored 522. Behind Chris Polk, Washington averaged 152 rushing yards per game. Baylor averaged 215.1 -- with a quarterback who threw 36 TD passes.

Most amazing of all: Washington scored 49 touchdowns, Baylor 71. If Stanford scored 65 on Washington, imagine what the Bears might do. I'll go conservative: Baylor 59, UW 38.

COMING UP: Washington will open its 2012 football season Sept. 1 hosting San Diego State at CenturyLink Field (Husky Stadium is closed until 2013, when a $250 million renovation will be completed). The rest of UW's completed 2012 schedule: at LSU (Sept. 8), vs. Portland State (Sept. 15). UW will also play at California, vs. Utah, at Colorado, vs. Stanford, at Arizona, at Oregon, vs. USC, vs. Oregon State and at Washington State, all dates to be determined. University of Washington 2011 Schedule/Results

Date Opponent UW Rnk Opp Rnk W/L Score Rec.
9/3/11 vs. Eastern Washington --- --- W 30-27 1-0
9/10/11 vs. Hawaii --- --- W 40-32 2-0
9/17/11 at Nebraska --- 11 L 51-38 2-1
9/24/11 vs. California --- --- W 31-23 3-1
10/1/11 at Utah --- --- W 31-14 4-1
10/15/11 vs. Colorado --- --- W 52-24 5-1
10/22/11 at Stanford 22 6 L 65-21 5-2
10/29/11 vs. Arizona --- --- W 42-31 6-2
11/5/11 vs. Oregon --- 6 L 34-17 6-3
11/12/11 at Southern Cal --- 18 L 40-17 6-4
11/19/11 at Oregon State --- --- L 38-21 6-5
11/26/11 vs. Washington St. --- --- W 38-21 7-5
12/29/11 vs. Baylor --- 15 --- --- ---

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