ORLANDO, FLORIDA – When it was at full strength this season, Baylor had the most productive offense in college football.
Even with several of their key pieces missing, the Bears proved they could be just as impressive.
Johnny Jefferson rushed for three touchdowns and a record 299 yards, and No. 18 Baylor ran past No. 10 North Carolina 49-38 in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Tuesday night.
Despite missing two quarterbacks, an award-winning receiver, and a 1,000-yard running back, the Bears’ No. 1-ranked scoring offense remained creative, pounding out 645 yards rushing and 756 total yards — both records for this bowl.
“It just says we’re tough. Baylor’s whole identity is ‘physicality travels.’ That’s all we preach. That’s all we teach,” said Jefferson, whose rushing performance was a Russell Athletic Bowl record. “So being physical today, we won the game.”
Devin Chafin added 161 yards and a touchdown, and Terence Williams rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns for the Bears (10-3).
North Carolina (11-3) tried to match Baylor’s scoring output but had a key fumble in the third quarter that stifled its comeback efforts.
Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams passed for 243 yards and three scores, and rushed for two more. Elijah Hood added 118 yards rushing.
The win was Baylor’s first bowl victory since 2012, snapping a string of two consecutive bowl losses.
No. 22 LSU 56, Texas Tech 27: In Houston, Leonard Fournette scored five touchdowns and ran for 212 yards as the No. 22 Tigers used a big third quarter to pull away for a win over the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech (7-6) cut the lead to one point early in the third quarter before the Tigers (9-3) scored 21 straight points, with two touchdowns by Fournette, to make it 42-20 entering the fourth.
Fournette had two rushing touchdowns of 2 yards, ran for TDs of 43 and 4 yards and took a screen pass 44 yards for another score.
Nevada 28, Colorado State 23: In Tucson, Arizona, James Butler scored on a 4-yard run with 1:06 left as the Wolf Pack benefited from a late gaffe by the Rams.
Colorado State (7-6) trailed most of the game before taking the lead on Wyatt Bryan’s 38-yard field goal with just under 4 minutes left.
Nevada (7-6) responded quickly, marching 72 yards in eight plays to set up Butler’s tackle-breaking touchdown run.
Nick Stevens orchestrated a quick-hitting drive in the final minute with no timeouts, but receiver Jordon Vaden was unable to get out of bounds at Nevada’s 12-yard line and time ran out on the Rams.
Armed Forces Bowl
California 55, Air Force 36: In Fort Worth, Texas, Jared Goff threw for 467 yards and six touchdowns as the Bears won in the postseason for the first time in seven years.
Goff had three of his scoring tosses in a span of five plays in the second quarter as California (8-5) broke a 14-14 tie and cruised in a rematch of the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl, also won by Cal (42-36).
Receiver Kenny Lawler had three touchdowns for the Bears, who last made the postseason in 2011, a 21-10 loss to Texas in the Holiday Bowl.
Cal’s last bowl win was a 24-17 victory over Miami in the 2008 Emerald Bowl near its Bay Area campus.