Baylor is fast, spreads a defense as far as possible and uses multiple weapons to attack the defense. And the Bears do it with impressive balance.
Baylor is No. 13 in the Football Bowl Subdivision with 250.3 rushing yards per game, while averaging 273.1 passing. The Bears are one of only two teams in the nation with four players rushing for 48 or more yards per game, but only two will play in the Cactus Bowl (8:15 p.m. Tuesday, ESPN) with quarterback Seth Russell hurt and running back Shock Linwood leaving the team.
“They think we pass it 80 times a game, but we’re pretty much 50-50,” freshman quarterback Zach Smith said. “The rushing attack is what really opens the passing game for us. When that’s not going, it’s a lot harder to throw.”
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Leading the charge for the backs is 6-foot-1, 220-pound sophomore Terence Williams, a bowling ball who runs straight ahead, often making the first defender miss. He’s rushed for 945 yards and 11 touchdowns on 160 carries, with just 5 yards worth of negative runs.
“They’ve got a beast at running back. He’s pretty big; he runs hard,” Boise State cornerback Jonathan Moxey said.
Since all of Baylor’s starting offensive linemen weigh at least 310 pounds, it puts a further tax on a defense, already worn down by the multiple ball carriers and up-tempo system. But Boise State, with its undersized line, feels it can negate that advantage, as it did against bigger lines like BYU earlier this season.
“I think we’ve got a good gameplan to handle that,” nose tackle David Moa said. “They’ve really simplified it for us. Coaches have told us we need to use our quickness, and in the film we watched, the teams that slowed them down have done that with their line.”