Written by Bob Mora
Orlando, FL - Johnny Jefferson was named the MVP of the Russell Athletic Bowl as he ran for 299 yards and three touchdowns to help bring the Baylor University Bears over the North Carolina Tar Heels 49-38 Tuesday night at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
One of the most anticipated games of this college bowl season was the Russell Athletic Bowl between the 11-2 Tar Heels and 9-3 Bears. The Tar Heels came off a loss to Clemson in the ACC Championship game after winning 11 games in a row while the Bears having injury issues, have lost their last two games.
Baylor playing without their top two Quarterbacks started with a drive that ended at mid-field on a failed fourth down attempt, allowing North Carolina Quarterback Marquise Williams to march the Tar Heels down field for 69 yards on 13 plays to give North Carolina an early 7-0 lead on Brandon Fritts 9-yard touchdown reception.
Baylor wasted no time in rushing down field on 13 plays, mixing up as Chris Johnson, Devin Chafin, and Johnny Jefferson all took snaps as the Bears tied the score 7-7 on Lynx Hawthorne 6 yard run, On the Bears next possession, Jefferson gained 41 yards and Hawthorne 37 yards setting up a Devin Chafin 2 yard touchdown run giving the Bears a 14-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
North Carolina cut the lead to 14-10 on a 32 yard Nick Weiler field goal to start the second quarter, that is when the Baylor running game took over as the Bears easily marched down field on a 8 play 75 yard drive highlighted bye Johnny Jeffersons 11 yard rushing score giving the Bears an 11 point lead, 21-10.
Tar Heel Quarterback Marquise Williams drove the team down field only to have the pass intercepted by Orion Stewart at the Baylor 9, returning it 24 yards to the Baylor 33 where the Baylor running game kept pushing down field for a 10 play 67 yard drive ending with a Johnny Jefferson 27 yard touchdown run, making it 28-10. North Carolina scored on it's next possession to make it a 28-17 score at the half.
The Tar Heels started the third quarter with the ball as Williams scored on a keeper from the 1 yard line to cut the lead to 28-24, that is when Baylor took control with.an 8 play 61 yard drive pushing the lead to 11 at 35-24, after Orion Stewart recovered Tar Heels T Logans fumble, Johnny Jefferson broke free and rushed for an 80 yard touchdown giving the Bears an 42-24 lead.
Williams did find Howard for a 27-yard score cutting the lead to 42-31 to end the third quarter.
Both teams found the end zone one time in the fourth quarter, making the final score 49-38 in front of an announced attendance of 40,418.
"We felt confident in Quarterback Chris Johnson" said Offensive coordinator Kendal Briles,on the victory" And our guys created a lot of run space, the guys stuck together, these Seniors won 50 games in 4 years".
"Being physical won the game," said sophomore running back Johnny Jefferson. "Our whole idea was to run the ball and pound it."
Running Back Devin Chafin rushed for 161 yards on 27 carries with a touchdown while Terence Williams rushed for 97 yards on 16 carries and 2 touchdowns.
North Carolina Quarterback Marquise Williams passed for 243 yards on 22 completions with 3 touchdowns passing and 2 rushing and 1 Interception, Running back Elijah Hood rushed for 118 yards on 13 carries, Safety Donnie Miles had 22 total tackles,11 unassisted.
The Baylor Bears set a Russell Bowl record with 645 rushing yards on 84 carries for a total of 756 yards on 102 plays.
The gridiron action will continue at the Citrus Bowl this Friday, New Year's Day, as the Florida Gators take on the Michigan Wolverines at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Written by Joe Klawe
Florida Citrus Sports Steve Hogan and Chairman Ken Patrick announced Sunday that the North Carolina Tar Heels (11-2) and Baylor Bears (9-3) will face off in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl.
“This continues the growth cycle for the Russell Athletic Bowl and I think it establishes itself as one of the premiere bowls in the country,” Hogan said on the announcement of the two teams. “This should be a fireworks show, so we’re excited as we can be; we think this sets up to be one of the best television games of the season.”
Baylor and North Carolina will make their first-ever meeting this season, with the Tar Heels’ first trip to Central Florida.
A combined twenty wins marks the Russell Athletic Bowl’s second time the high-water mark has been clipped. The number owes to the Tar Heels’ eleven straight wins, undefeated ACC regular-season play, and ACC Coastal Division Championship on a 1980 school record broken in the 2015 season.
Baylor finishes first in the NCAA’s total offense (604.4 yards/game) and scoring (48.0) under head coach Art Briles.
“In a lot of respect this is going to be a top-ten matchup at full strength and that’s why we’re ready for this,” said Hogan. “When you think about Orlando and Florida Citrus Sports’ games you look at the fact at of the Power-5 conferences we have three of the top picks, outside of the New Year’s six. So ACC, Notre Dame, SEC and Big-10, we pick first after the six. We believe in most years, and so far the first two years of this new CFB era, is that you’re going to see highly ranked teams in this game and we couldn’t be more proud of what the Russell Athletic Bowl has become.”
The Russell Athletic Bowl kicks off December 29th at 5:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN.
Florida Citrus Sports Communications
ORLANDO, Fla. – Tickets for both the 70th Annual Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl and the 26th Annual Russell Athletic Bowl are now on sale to the general public. Tickets may be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, any Ticketmaster outlet, at the Amway Center box office or by phone (800.745.3000). Ticket prices for both games start as low as $60.
The Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl will be played on Jan. 1, 2016, featuring a matchup of top teams from the Big Ten Conference and Southeastern Conference (SEC). Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and the game will be televised on ABC. In last year’s matchup, the Missouri Tigers knocked off the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 33-17.
The Russell Athletic Bowl kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 29, 2015 The game features top-tier teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference (inclusive of Notre Dame) and the Big 12 Conference. In 2014, the Clemson Tigers defeated the Oklahoma Sooners, 40-6.
Premium sideline seating for both games – including club seats – are available through membership ticket packages with Florida Citrus Sports (FCSports). Packages also include an assortment of benefits, such as parking passes, presale opportunities for other Orlando Citrus Bowl events, business networking opportunities and social events throughout the year.
Single-game tickets for groups of 10 or more are available exclusively through the Florida Citrus Sports box office.
For additional information on bowl game tickets or FCSports membership, call 407.423.2476 or visitwww.FloridaCitrusSports.com.