The Baylor Bears dominated in the Big 12 vs Mountain West matchup, breaking a school record for their 7th consecutive bowl appearance. The Bears started off strong with receiver KD Cannon reaching the 200-yard mark against Boise State for the first time since the Bronco’s MAACO Bowl appearance in 2011. Baylor outgained Boise State 515-388 and forced three Bronco turnovers in the game. With their quick-hitting offense led by freshman quarterback Zach Smith, Baylor closed out their season with nothing short of a bang.
Baylor opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 30-yard pass from quarterback Zach Smith to Cannon. The two connected for a second big play early in the second quarter, as Cannon outran the defenders for a 68-yard touchdown catch.
Boise State kicker Tyler Rausa connected on two short field goals in the second quarter, but trailed 21-6 heading into the half after Baylor running back JaMycal Hasty ran for five yards to complete a 15-play, 99-yard drive.
In addition to the offensive outburst by the Bears, Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien threw two first-half interceptions that ended promising drives. The six first half points scored by the Broncos was a season-low.
In the second half, the Broncos put together a promising 13-play, 74-yard drive to open the third quarter, but a fourth-and-goal play was broken up. Baylor responded with a long drive of their own, moving 78 yards in 21 plays before increasing the lead to 24-6 with a field goal from kicker Chris Callahan.
The Baylor defense forced the third turnover of the game on the ensuing drive, as Rypien lost a fumble early in the fourth quarter.
The Bears made Boise State pay on Smith’s third touchdown throw of the game, this time on a 14-yard strike to wide receiver Ishmael Zamora to give Baylor a 31-6 lead.
Rypien added a late touchdown throw to the Bronco’s wide receiver Cedric Wilson with less than a minute left in the game to make the score 31-12. Rypien finished the game with 305 yards on 32-51 passing, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Bronco running back Jeremy McNichols was held out of the endzone for the first time this season, after entering the contest with a rushing touchdown in 24-consecutive games. McNichols finished the night with 19 carries for 46 yards and 24 yards through the air.
The Baylor offense was led by Smith and Cannon. Cannon finished with a Cactus Bowl record 226 receiving yards on 14 catches with two touchdowns en route to offensive player of the game. Smith was 28-39 for 375 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
On the ground, running back Terence Williams broke the century mark with 103 yards on 25 carries.
Defensively, Baylor linebacker Taylor Young earned defensive player of the game with a Cactus Bowl record 17 tackles, while defensive end Tyrone Hunt tallied two tackles for loss and two sacks.
It was the first appearance in the Cactus Bowl for both teams.