Time to Bust Out The Salsa as UCF and Baylor Prepare for Fiesta Bowl

By: Adrian Beecher

Orlando- The UCF Knights  (11-1, 8-0) will face the BaylorBears (11-1, 8-1) on New Years Day at the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona. This will be the first BCS Bowl either team has played in.

UCF gets their first bid after putting together an 8 game win streak, a school record, that included fourth-quarter comeback wins over Louisville, Memphis, Houston, USF, and SMU, dubbing the team locally as the “Cardiac Knights”. Throughout the season the Knights have set several school records including their No. 15 ranking in all the polls including the BCS.


UCF Quarterback Blake Bortles leads his team into the Fiesta Bowl with 3,280 yds passing and 22 TD’s on the year. (Photo Credit: Jody Seabrooks / The SkyBoat)
“We run very intense practices. It will be like pre-season for us as far as meetings and walk-throughs and film work and getting on the field.” Said UCF Head Coach George O’Leary on keeping the team’s intensity at a maximum in preparation for Glendale. ‘I don’t question intensity.. It’s how you address practice and the tempo that you run it in.”

The Knights have been lead on the offensive side of the ball all year by quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson. Bortles finished the regular season with 3,280 passing yards, 22 touchdown passes and only 7 interceptions. Johnson finished with 1,015 yards rushing on 193 attempts for 11 touchdowns.

They will go up against a stout Baylor defense that ranks 19th in the nation in points allowed averaging only 21.2 points per game.

Baylor comes in as the No. 1 scoring offense in the country led by quarterback Bryce Petty, who finished the year with 3,844 yards passing and 30 touchdowns. The Bear’s like to score quick and in a hurry, they put up 70 points or more four times this season, while holding their opponents to only 7 points two of those four times.

“Its just something we’ve always done.” Said Baylor Head Coach Art Briles of Baylor’s up-tempo offense Sunday night during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Media Conference. “I’ve been doing it for 20 years plus. I like the fact that something good happens you cant pat yourself on the back, something bad happens, you can’t worry about it. You’re on to the next play and just have to keep going.”

Baylor gets into the Fiesta Bowl after winning the Big 12 with an impressive 30-10 win over Texas this past Saturday and a loss by Oklahoma State to Oklahoma which sealed the Bear’s spot in Glendale.

This will be the first time Baylor and UCF have ever matched up on the football field. The game on January 1st is a promising matchup that is sure to be exciting, with an 8:30 kickoff time on ESPN be sure to tune in to see which team will claim their first ever BCS Bowl win.

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