The 1948 Baylor squad finished the regular season 5–3–2 with losses against Texas, Tulane and SMU and ties against Mississippi State and Rice. Following their tie against Rice, Dixie Bowl officials extended the Bears an invitation to play in the 1949 edition of the game, which Baylor accepted. The Dixie Bowl appearance marked the first ever postseason bowl game for Baylor.
The 1948 Wake Forest squad finished the regular season 6–3 with losses against Boston College, North Carolina and Clemson. Following their victory over Duke, Dixie Bowl officials extended the Demon Deacons an invitation to play in the 1949 edition of the game, which Wake accepted. The appearance marked the first for Wake in the Dixie Bowl and their second overall bowl appearance.
Baylor opened the scoring in the first quarter after George Simsintercepted a Wake pass and returned it 52 yards to the Demon Deacons eight-yard line. Sammie Pierce scored from one yard out a few plays later and after Hank Dickerson missed the extra point, the Bears took a 6–0 lead. Baylor extended their lead to 20–0 at halftime after Jerry Mangrum scored from one-yard out and Harold Riley connected with Ray Painter for a 12-yard touchdown reception. Early in the third, Wake scored their only points of the game on a three-yard Mike Sprock run to make the final score 20–7.