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College Football
Preview
Central Florida vs Baylor
When: 8:30 PM ET, Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL STORYLINES


1. Fifth-ranked Baylor brings the nation’s top attack (53.3 points per game) into the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on New Year’s Day, but No. 15 Central Florida is no offensive slouch. The Knights average 33.2 points behind quarterback Blake Bortles, who ranks ninth nationally in passing efficiency with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Bears quarterback Bryce Petty, who has thrown 30 touchdowns against two interceptions while rushing for 11 scores, ranks second in pass efficiency.

2. Both teams are making their first appearance in a BCS bowl. Baylor had national championship aspirations until getting blitzed at Oklahoma State 49-17 on Nov. 23, while Central Florida finished the season on an eight-game win streak to earn the American Athletic Conference’s automatic BCS bid.

3. While Central Florida boasts an outstanding running back duo in Storm Johnson (1,015 yards, 14 total touchdowns, 5.3 yards per carry, 29 catches) and William Stanback (six rushing scores), Baylor features a dangerous trio in Lache Seastrunk (1,060 yards, 11 rushing TDs), Shock Linwood (862, eight) and Glasco Martin (490, six). Seastrunk missed nearly three games with a groin injury but returned Nov. 30, running for 172 yards in season-ending victories over Texas Christian and Texas.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Baylor -16.5

ABOUT CENTRAL FLORIDA (11-1, 8-0 American Athletic Conference): The Knights rank 13th nationally in points allowed (19.6) and are led defensively by linebacker Terrance Plummer, who has 96 tackles, eight tackles for loss, two sacks, two interceptions and six pass breakups. Central Florida posted another 11-win season as recently as 2010 and has won its last two bowl games after losing its first three. But the Knights looked far from dominant down the stretch, squeaking by South Florida and Southern Methodist by a combined seven points.

ABOUT BAYLOR (11-1, 8-1 Big 12): The Bears won’t have lightning-fast wide receiver Tevin Reese, who averaged 25 yards per catch and hauled in eight touchdowns before dislocating his wrist, but Antwan Goodley (1,319 receiving yards, 13 TDs) and Levi Norwood (670, seven) also are thriving in coach Art Briles’ exciting scheme. Baylor averaged 51 more yards than any other team and scored at least 59 points seven times. The Bears, 10-9 in bowl games, rank 19th nationally in points allowed (21.2).

PREDICTION: Baylor 48, Central Florida 24
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Central Florida 11-1 W8 33.2 19.6 5-1 6-0 7-1 0-0 8-0
Baylor 11-1 W2 53.2 21.2 8-0 3-1 1-0 1-0 8-1
Last Meeting
Central Florida Baylor
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Central Florida N/A
Baylor N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Central Florida N/A
Baylor N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Central Florida N/A
Baylor N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Central Florida N/A
Baylor N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Central Florida B. Bortles 68.1 3280 22 7
Baylor B. Petty 61.9 3854 30 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Central Florida S. Johnson 193 1015 5.3 11
Baylor L. Seastrunk 141 1060 7.5 11
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Central Florida R. Hall 53 773 14.6 3
Baylor A. Goodley 68 1329 19.5 13
Touchdowns Player TD
Central Florida S. Johnson 14
Baylor A. Goodley 13
Quickchart Matchup
Central Florida Off vs  Baylor Def
432.3 yards
344.1 yards
4.3 yards/rush
3.3 yards/rush
9 yards/attempt
6.1 yards/attempt
Baylor Off vs  Central Florida Def
625.6 yards
346.3 yards
5.4 yards/rush
3.9 yards/rush
10.8 yards/attempt
6.4 yards/attempt