Florence 1-ups Grif­fin in rout

QB sets Bay­lor mark for sin­gle-sea­son pass­ing yardage

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - Lenny ignelzi / AS­SO­CI­ATED Press

— Rout­ing the UCLA Bru­ins al­most seemed like a side­light for Bay­lor Bears quar­ter­back Nick Florence.

Nab­bing one of Robert Grif­fin III’s school records? Now that was a big deal.

The Bears over­whelmed the No. 17 Bru­ins 49-26 in the Hol­i­day Bowl on Thurs­day night as Florence threw for two scores and ran for an­other. Round Rock Stony Point prod­uct Glasco Martin ran for three touch­downs.

Florence com­pleted 10 of 13 passes for 188 yards, giv­ing him 4,309 for the sea­son to break RG3’s school record of 4,293 set in his 2011 Heis­man Tro­phy-win­ning sea­son.

“For me, I just wanted a chance to play. I just hap­pened to fol­low a Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner,” Florence said. “I’m not Robert. I’m not 6-3. I don’t run a 4.3. You saw that tonight. Man, if I could run a 4.3 it would be nice. So I just had to be me. I tried to man­age this of­fense and play within my­self. He’s a heck of player, he’s done a heck of a job for this pro­gram, put us on the map. I’m hum­bled and hon­ored to hold that record. He de­serves it. I never thought that would have hap­pened this year. I just wanted to win games.”

Bay­lor (8-5) won its fi­nal four games and five of six.

“That was a ques­tion we asked all our play­ers, ‘What was go­ing to hap­pen now that Robert’s gone?’” coach Art Briles said. “And our guys re­sponded, fought to­gether, be­lieved in each other. They have al­ways sus­tained and never lost fo­cus.”

Lache Seas­trunk rushed 16 times for 138 yards and one score for Bay­lor, which out­gained UCLA 494-362. The Bears came in lead­ing the na­tion in to­tal of­fense with 578.8 yards per game.

Bay­lor’s de­fense came up big, too. The Bears sacked Brett Hundley six times, in­clud­ing two by Chris McAl­lis­ter, and shut down UCLA’s ca­reer rush­ing leader Johnathan Franklin. Franklin, who av­er­aged 130.8 yards this sea­son, gained 12 yards on his first carry of the game but was a non-fac­tor af­ter that, fin­ish­ing with just 34 yards on 14 car­ries.

Over­all, the Bru­ins gained only 33 yards on 28 car­ries. They came in hav­ing av­er­aged 202.9 yards rush­ing.

“They played well up­front,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said. “When we are at our best is when we can run the foot­ball. We couldn’t find any room to the foot­ball. They played phys­i­cal.”

Hundley was 26 of 50 for 329 yards and three touch­downs to set UCLA’s sea­son pass­ing record with 3,740 yards. The old record was 3,470 by Cade McNown in 1998.

Bay­lor had a 21-0 lead early in the sec­ond quar­ter on Martin’s 4yard run and Florence’s TD passes of 8 yards to Ant­wan Good­ley and 55 yards to Tevin Reese.

UCLA, which lost its fi­nal three games this sea­son, punted four times and lost the ball on downs be­fore get­ting a break when Bay­lor’s Jor­dan Nav­jar fum­bled af­ter a re­cep­tion when he was hit by Eric Ken­dricks, with Ran­dal Go­forth re­cov­er­ing at the Bears 21. Two plays later, Joseph Fau­ria caught a 22-yard pass from Hundley to pull the Bru­ins to 21-7.

Bay­lor quickly added two more touch­downs to put it out of reach at 35-7. Martin burst up the mid­dle for his sec­ond touch­down of the game, a 26-yarder. Af­ter UCLA punted yet again, Seas­trunk broke free for a 43yard touch­down run with 1:58 left be­fore half­time.

Bay­lor quar­ter­back Nick Florence passed for 188 yards in a 49-26 win over UCLA late Fri­day. He fin­ished the sea­son with a school record 4,309 yards – 16 ahead of Robert Grif­fin III’s to­tal in 2011.

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