The Big 12 and SEC will get a chance to duke it out on the field in the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl on Dec. 27. Baylor and Vanderbilt are two 6-6 teams that are looking to head into the offseason with momentum. Here is the 2018 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl preview.
Baylor Bears (6-6)
Matt Rhule has done good work getting Baylor to a bowl game in just his second season. They did beat one bowl-eligible team in Oklahoma State. The Bears only lost to teams above .500, which shows that they beat the teams they are supposed to beat.
The offense averages 28.3 points per game, which is tied for 70th in the country. Baylor rushes for 159.5 yards (ranked 79th) and pass for 282 yards per game (ranked 22nd).
Quarterback Charlie Brewer has done a good job operating the offense this season for the Bears. He has 2,635 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions on 61.5% completion. They have three really productive receivers in Jalen Hurd, Denzel Mims and Chris Platt, who all have over 500 yards receiving. Hurd, the former Tennessee running back, leads the team with 69 receptions and 946 yards. Mims leads the team with eight touchdown catches on the year.
Three running backs have over 300 rushing yards on the season for Baylor. John Lovett is top on the team with 100 carries for 546 yards and five touchdowns. JaMycal Hasty and Trestan Ebner both average over five yards per carry too, making every running back a threat.
The Bears allow 31.2 points per game, ranking 87th in the country. They give up 174.8 rushing yards (ranked 80th) and 284.3 passing yards per game (ranked T-81st). Junior linebacker Clay Johnston has racked up 95 total tackles this season.
Vanderbilt Commodores (6-6)
Vanderbilt finished their season with two straight wins to become bowl-eligible. They beat two bowl-eligible teams this season in Middle Tennessee and Nevada. All six losses came to teams playing this bowl season.
The Commodores score 27.7 points per game, which is ranked 74th in the country. They average 240.2 passing yards (ranked 56th) and rush for 157.6 yards per game (ranked T-81st).
One of the best quarterbacks in Vanderbilt history is currently on the roster in Kyle Shurmur. He has thrown for 2,884 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and six interceptions on 64% completion this season. Vanderbilt has two great receivers in Kalija Lipscomb and Jared Pinckney. Lipscomb leads the team with 81 receptions for 886 yards and eight touchdowns.
The running game is led by Ke’Shawn Vaughn. He has 1,001 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the season. Khari Blasingame and Jamauri Wakefield have each added over 300 yards.
The defense is ranked 49th in the country, allowing 25.1 points per game. Vanderbilt gives up 187.3 yards on the ground (ranked 88th) and 232.6 yards through the air (ranked 71st) per game. Senior linebacker Jordan Griffin has 110 total tackles, which puts him among the country’s best.
Vanderbilt has the better defense and quarterback in this game. Shurmur will come through on key third downs for the Commodores to keep the chains moving. The defense will hang on from there.
Vanderbilt Commodores 25 Baylor Bears 21
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