December 27, 2018
2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl
As Baylor topped Vandy 45-38, the match-up did not disappoint. It was an exciting game from the first play to the last. The crowd at NRG Stadium was predominantly green and gold; the Baylor crowd and their cheers were the 12th Man for the Bears in their victory over the Commodores.
Baylor head coach Matt Rhule has come along with this team from last seasons 1-11 finish. His team was led by Texas Bowl MVP quarterback Charlie Brewer. Brewer rushed for 109 yards in 16 carries, passing for 384 with 21 completions in 34 attempts. His ability to extend the play with his legs was a game changer, so much so that Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason commented on Brewer in his post-game presser. “He ran as well as their running backs did. The reality was, he was the difference in this ballgame. He was able to keep drives alive with his legs and that was tough for us.” Brewer had a dozen different targets at his disposal; the Bears should make a big impact next season in the Big 12. Rhule has made big strides with this team in season two.
The Bears offensive stats from the game were beyond impressive, 668 total offensive yards, an average of 8.2 yards per play with three scoring plays at 30+ yards. Vandy’s were just as impressive with 573 total offensive yards, an average of 9.2 yards per play, also with three scoring plays of 30+ yards. If you get a chance to watch a replay of the game, I highly recommend it. My words can not do the back and forth action justice. Both teams now know what they need to work on defense for next season. Not to say there wasn’t any defense there was, but each team struggled to stop the run. Now is the time to tighten up, tweak, as well as work on finishing the plays. Perhaps a little more hustle would have helped both teams.
Senior quarterback Kyle Shurmur completed 18 out of 37 attempts for 286 yards and one touchdown. Shurmur also broke several Vanderbilt team records in Thursday night’s game. He ended his college career with 8,865 yards, 64 touchdowns, 722 completions in 1,264 attempts, the most in Vanderbilt team history. Vandy’s breakout star this season was running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn had two breakaway touchdown runs, 68 and 69 yards. He also set a Texas Bowl record with 243 rushing yards. Vaughn made such an impact on Coach Rhule that he sought him out after the game to let him know his thoughts “I just want to tell you, that was as impressive as anything I’ve ever seen, that was really impressive. You’re impressive on tape, too, but seeing you live — that was impressive,” Rhule praised Vaughn. Ultimately, Vaughn was equally impressed with Rhule for taking the time to speak to him. “I’ve never had a coach from another team come and talk to me about my performance so it means a lot that I got his attention, too.”
The Bears will have Brewer as their returning quarterback. Vanderbilt will have to replace Shurmur, which will be no small feat. They will also have to replace defensive force Joejuan Williams, who just announced he will forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft. Meanwhile, Commodore Nation will be waiting anxiously to find out if Jared Pinkneyand Vaughn will return or take their talents to the league. Needless to say, both teams have laid a solid foundation for the future. This was a match-up of two teams on the come up, the game was one of the better bowl games of the 2018 season, as there was no shortage of action. If you are a fan of either team you have some great football in your future. 2019 will be big for Baylor as well as Vanderbilt.
Fun Facts From The Game
Here are a few of the fun facts from the post-game notes and quotes.
· Baylor and Vanderbilt shattered a Texas Bowl-record with a combined 1,241 total yards, surpassing the previous Texas Bowl record of 1,037 yards set by LSU and Texas Tech in 2015.
· The Bears and Commodores tied a Texas Bowl record for the most points scored in a game with 83 points, tying the previous record set in 2015.
· The 2018 game featured a Texas Bowl record nine lead changes.
· The teams combined for 571 rushing yards, the most combined rushing yards in Texas Bowl history.
· Baylor and Vanderbilt also combined for a Texas Bowl-record 670 yards passing, surpassing the previous record of 624 in 2015.
· The two teams combined for 24 points in the fourth quarter, making tonight’s game the highest-scoring fourth quarter in Texas Bowl history.
· Baylor and Vanderbilt also tied a Texas Bowl record for the most points scored in the first quarter with 24, tying the previous record set by Texas Tech and Minnesota in 2012.
· Vanderbilt RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn recorded the second- and third-longest touchdown runs in Texas Bowl history with a 68-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and a 69-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.