by CFP Staff
December 29, 2010
Illinois routed Baylor 38-14 in the Texas Bowl on Wednesday to claim just its 7th bowl victory. The Bears were making their first bowl appearance since 1994 and searching for their first postseason win since 1992.
The game was played at Houston's Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL's Houston Texans.
Led by third-year head coach Art Briles, Baylor finished the season 7-6 for its first winning campaign since 1995. However, the Bears ended the year on a 4-game losing streak and and lost five of their last eight games after a 4-1 start.
Illinois running back Mikel Leshoure gained 184 yards and scored three TD's. He set several school single season records, including his rushing yards total of 1,697 yards and TD total of 20. His last touchdown came in the 4th quarter after Baylor had cut Illinois' lead from 24-0 to 24-14.
Fighting Illini quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase also had a sterling performance, completing 18-of-23 passes for 242 yards and scoring Illinois' final touchdown on a 55-yard scamper with 41 seconds left in the game.
Dual-threat Baylor QB Robert Griffin III finished with 306 yards and a touchdown, but he started with a pair of fumbles. His first killed a game-opening drive that had taken the Bears to the Illinois 20-yard line and ultimately resulted in an Illini field goal. His second fumble came at the Illinois 32-yard line with 1:39 left in the half.
Illinois also finished 7-6 after consecutive losing seasons, and Ron Zook improved to 1-4 as a head coach in bowl games with Illinois (1-1) and Florida (0-2).
Baylor fell to 8-9 all-time in bowl games while Illinois improved to 7-9 all-time. The Illini had won just 3 of its previous 12 bowl appearances.
Baylor won the only other meeting between these schools 34-19 at Champaign in 1976.