Texas Bowl Capsule
Texas Bowl Preview Capsule
Baylor (7-5) vs. Illinois (6-6), 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Line: Baylor by 1 1/2.
Series Record: Baylor, 1-0.
Last Meeting: 1976, Baylor 34-19.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Baylor has a chance to collect eight wins for the first time since 1991. In their first bowl appearance since 1994, the Bears are looking for their first bowl win since 1992. A win in the Texas Bowl would be the first bowl win for Illinois since 1999 – the team is in its first bowl game since 2008.
Baylor RB Jay Finley and Illinois RB Mikel Leshoure against the opposing run defenses. Finley has 1,155 yards rushing this season and needs just 33 yards to set Baylor’s single season rushing record. Leshoure’s 1,513 yards rushing led the Big 10 and his more than 126 yards rushing a game are eighth in the nation. The Texas Bowl could be his last college game as the junior explores leaving early for the NFL draft. Illinois is allowing more than 131 yards rushing a game and the Bears are giving up more than 160.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Baylor: QB Robert Griffin. Griffin bounced back from an ACL injury that cost him most of last season to throw for 3,195 yards and 21 touchdowns and run for 591 yards and eight more scores. He is seventh in the nation with almost 316 yards of total offense a game and accounted for all but 17 of Baylor’s offensive touchdowns this season.
Illinois: QB Nathan Scheelhaase. He set the Illinois freshman records for passing yards (1,538), touchdown passes (17) and yards rushing by a quarterback (815). The dual-threat quarterback needs just 28 yards rushing to set the Illinois record for yards rushing by a freshman at any position that was set in 1944.
FACTS & FIGURES
Leshoure needs 169 yards to break the Illinois single-season rushing record of 1,681 yards set by Rashard Mendenhall in 2007. … Illinois coach Ron Zook was 3-0 in bowl games as a player at Miami of Ohio but is 0-3 in them as a head coach. … This year is Baylor’s first winning season since 1995 when the Bears finished 7-4 but did not receive a bowl invitation. … Baylor coach Art Briles is also 0-3 as a head coach in bowl games. He lost all three bowl games as coach at Houston before leaving to take over at Baylor before Houston’s 2007 trip to Texas Bowl.