Valero Alamo Bowl: Halftime Update Washington 35 Baylor 24

Vance PennCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2011

If you leave this game at halftime, you're either a fool or you've had all of this roller coaster you can stand. But one thing is for sure, you won't leave saying you weren't entertained.

Watching the first half of the 2012 Valero Alamo Bowl, I completely understand why Baylor fans leave games exhausted. One second, you're watching your team streak down the field, seemingly scoring at will. The next, you're watching the defense get shredded for long pass after long pass. It's tiring and a recipe for disaster.

We enter halftime virtually even in every aspect of the game, except the score. Both teams have 16 first downs, just over 300 yards of offense, near 150 yards of rushing and passing and 15 minutes of possession. Oh, and well on our way to 1,000 yards of total offense and perhaps 100 points scored!

The difference so far is penalties and defense. Baylor has six penalties to Washington's zero. Washington has pushed Robert Griffin III (RG3) out of the pocket and into running situations or sacks, more than Baylor would like while Baylor hasn't threatened Keith Price much at all.

The offense, particularly RG3, is exciting to be sure. Which, I'm sure you're saying, is why he won the Heisman Trophy, right? He passes well, he runs better and he commands the Bear offense like a field general, which he's going to have to do very well in the second half.

With backfield help from Terrance Ganaway and Kendall Wright and a fine receiving corps in Tevin Reese, Lanear Sampson and Kendall Wright, the Baylor's weapons are plentiful. There are so many moving pieces that, at times, it seems even the players have a difficult time keeping up. I suppose that might explain the six penalties, including two in a row for illegal substitution.

Baylor's Achilles heal, and Washington's Keith Price has exposed it repeatedly, is its over-aggressive defense generally and the secondary specifically. The corner backs either are having trouble covering Washington's receivers or they're playing so aggressively that they're out of position. That's a must-fix during halftime, or it will be Baylor looking down the barrel of the wrong end of 1,000 yards total offense.

One last observation, left tackle Cyril Richardson better have some good reason why he simply cannot block Josh Shirley. The Baylor coaches are going to be wearing out his name at halftime.