ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Baylor University brought its A game—and a few unexpected moves—to the Russell Athletic Bowl Tuesday to clench the 49-38 win against the University of North Carolina Tar Heels at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. The Bears, who made their first Russell Athletic Bowl appearance this year, set four new records: One, the most rushing yards of any Russell Athletic Bowl (333 rushing yards), breaking the 1999 record of 325 rushing yards in the match between Illinois and Virginia; two, the team ran a total of 708 yards Tuesday, the highest of any team in Bowl history according to the Football Bowl Association; and Baylor running back Johnny Jefferson broke two records: highest rushing touchdowns for any Russell Athletic Bowl (three), which his teammate Terence Williams (RB) accomplished along with him, and Jefferson’s 289 total rushing yards not only broke the Russell Athletic Bowl record, but also propelled him to the #2 spot in Bowl history.
“Our guys were prepared. The last couple of weeks, we’ve had some of the best practices that we’ve had,” said Coach Kendal Briles, Baylor’s Offensive Coordinator. “The adversity we went through this year, the seniors, what they’ve…accomplished…for these guys to win fifty games in the last five years is a tribute to what they’ve done and a tremendous program. They’ve run the ball well.”
The game’s climax came in the third quarter. UNC was down by 11 (35-24), and Elijah Hood (TB) carried the ball 67 yards. On the next play, T.J. Logan (TB) carried the ball for what was sure to be a touchdown—but fumbled in the end zone. Baylor’s Chance Waz (Safety) recovered the ball, and on the first down, Jefferson ran it 80 yards for a touchdown in fourteen seconds. UNC scored two more touchdowns, but Baylor kept the gap wide.
“We didn’t get it done tonight, obviously,” said UNC Head Coach Larry Fedora. “So you have to give a lot of credit to Baylor and what they accomplished tonight. They were the better team out there on the field.”
FNN News asked Johnny Jefferson, the Russell Athletic Bowl MVP, about what inspired his record-breaking performance. “I would say the team and leaving a good taste in their mouth. The big thing for me was the last game we played, I had a big mistake,” he explained. “And I promised the guys that I was going to come out and give it my all. And today God blessed me and they blocked amazing today.”
Orlando Citrus Bowl saw an electrified crowd of 40,418 for the Russell Athletic Bowl, which included special guests Orange County Commissioners Scott Boyd (District 1) and Todd Edwards (District 5).
Jamaica-born author and journalist Mellissa Thomas is a Jamaica-born is a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with Entertainment Business Masters and Film Bachelors degrees from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.
She also helps CEOs and executives, advisors, coaches, consultants, and speakers double their income and clinch the credibility they deserve by walking them step by step through the process of developing, completing, marketing, and publishing their first book.
She has published seven books, all available on Amazon.com. Her newly released book, From a Babe 2.0, is now available on the Kindle.