ORLANDO, FL – DECEMBER 29: Johnny Jefferson #5 of the Baylor Bears scores a touchdown during the second half of the Russell Athletic Bowl game against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Orlando Citrus Bowl on December 29, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

The Baylor Bears came into the 2015 season with high expectations after feeling they had been left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff last season despite an 11-1 record, and returning a lot of talent from last year’s team.

Tuesday night, Baylor broke the NCAA record for rushing yards in a bowl game with a stunning 645 yards in a 49-38 victory over North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl. The previous record stood for nearly 20 years, as Nebraska ran for 524 against Florida in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl.

The Bears had five different rushers on the night, but were led by Johnny Jefferson’s 299 yards and three touchdowns. The 299 yards helped Jefferson finish with exactly 1,000 on the season.

Devin Chafin had the most carries of anybody on the team with 27, adding 161 yards and a score. Terence Williams had 97 yards with two touchdowns. Lynx Hawthorne rushed for 63 yards and a score, and Chris Johnson had 31 yards.

One of the more impressive aspects of this feat is that the Bears did it without plenty of pieces. They were basically playing without a quarterback, as starter Seth Russell and freshman backup Jarrett Stidham were injured. Corey Coleman, one of the best receivers in the nation, was out and even 1,000-yard rusher Shock Linwood wasn’t available. Yet Baylor kept things rolling.

Just how dominating was the Baylor running game on its historic night? The record for rushing yards was set by the end of the third quarter.

The victory over the Tar Heels was the Bears’ first bowl win since the 2012 Holiday Bowl, in which they knocked off the UCLA Bruins, 49-19. This might have been the best finish Baylor could have had to its season, after losing to Texas to end the regular season in Waco.

About Harry Lyles Jr.

Harry Lyles Jr. is an Atlanta-based writer, and a Georgia State University graduate.