SAN DIEGO — 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. 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.
UCLA (9-5) lost its final three.
Kay leads Cincinnati over Duke 48-34 in Belk Bowl
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The last month was pure chaos for quarterback Brendon Kay and the Cincinnati Bearcats.
That made Thursday night’s Belk Bowl victory all the more rewarding.
Duke running back Josh Snead fumbled at the Cincinnati 5 with 1:20 left and Kay threw an 83-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce with 44 seconds to go, lifting the Bearcats to an improbable 48-34 win over the Blue Devils.
The Bearcats won without former head coach Butch Jones and both coordinators who helped guided them to the postseason.
Kay, who set a Belk Bowl record with four touchdown passes and was named the game’s MVP, called it a “huge win.”
“It’s really been chaos for the last month ... pure chaos,” Kay said. “We’ve played it off as it hasn’t been but it was pure chaos from the time we found out (Jones) he was leaving.”
Almost as chaotic as their latest win.
With the score tied at 34 and Duke driving for a go-ahead score, Snead fumbled and Kay capitalized with his go-ahead scoring pass to Kelce. Nick Temple capped the wild finish with a 55-yard interception return with 14 seconds left.
“We were figuring we might get one more shot as an offense and when we got the fumble we looked at each other and said we’ve worked way too hard to quit now,” Kay said.
Kay quickly took advantage of the change in momentum after the Snead fumble, finding Kelce down the middle on a seam route. Kelce got behind the Duke defense and caught the ball in stride, racing the final 60 yards to the end zone as Blue Devils fans looked on in stunned silence.
It was a play called Left Texas 60, Y Go Burst, with three receivers running seam routes.
“I threw the ball and I was just hoping he would turn and look,” Kay said. “He wasn’t looking until the last second and it worked out great.”
Kay also threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Ralph David Abernathy, and 25-yard scoring strikes to Anthony McClung and Chris Moore. George Winn also ran for a 46-yard touchdown for Cincinnati.
“I felt like a point guard dishing out the ball,” Kay said. “The guys were making plays.”
Cincinnati (10-3) finished with its fifth 10-win season in six years.
San Jose State tops Bowling Green in Military Bowl
WASHINGTON — The best season in San Jose State history? There’s a good case for it, yet it’s one nobody could make if the person with the awkward role of interim, on-the-way-out coach hadn’t finished the job.
The Spartans are done for the year with an 11-2 record. Ten wins go to Mike MacIntyre, who rebuilt a program that was 1-12 just two years ago before leaving this month for a better payday at Colorado.
Win No. 11 goes to defensive coordinator Kent Baer, who was put in charge and got to speak in a victorious locker room after Thursday’s 29-20 win over Bowling Green in the Military Bowl.
“I didn’t cry, but I wanted to,” Baer said. “I stood tall, took a couple of deep breaths. It’s been a little emotional the last few days.”
Baer wanted to stay at San Jose State, but he was passed over for the full-time job in favor of San Diego’s Ron Caragher and plans to follow MacIntyre to the Buffalos. With all those distractions going on, the No. 24 Spartans could be forgiven for being a little rattled ahead of their first bowl game since 2006.
Instead, San Jose State, in the national rankings for the first time since 1975, capped the year with a seven-game winning streak for its first 11-win season since 1940, recovering quickly from the shock of MacIntyre’s departure with the help of Baer.
“We were kind of, `What’s going to happen next year?’” defensive end Travis Johnson said. “We started thinking too much, and we started trying to figure out what coaches are going to be here, what players are going to be here, and then coach Baer came in the next day and he basically told us that it doesn’t matter — and what we set out to do, we’re going to accomplish.
“It stopped all the thought of coach Mac being gone. We still thought about him, but it was, `OK, he’s somewhere else. We’re going to go and get the win and we’re going to do it with what we have.’”
What they do have is a stellar quarterback, David Fales, who led the nation in completion percentage in the regular season. The dart-throwing transfer started strong and finished stronger in the wind and cold at RFK Stadium, completing 33 of 43 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns.
Fales led the drive that set up Austin Lopez’s 27-yard field goal with 4:43 remaining, and De’Leon Eskridge’s 1-yard run with 2:34 left provided the insurance. Fales was an unknown when he arrived on campus in the spring, but he quickly became the offensive leader the Spartans needed.
Bowling Green (8-5) had a similar turnaround, improving from 2-10 in 2010 under coach Dave Clawson. A defense that allowed only 15.8 points per game in the regular season — ninth best among FBS schools — did a decent job against a San Jose State team that was averaging 35.3 points.