A small university competing in
Division 1A football, and
arguably the finest --
embodying the ideal
of the Student Athlete.
X A look at the Rice Owls:
the coaches, the players,
records and stats . Your center for Rice and
NCAA football links on
the web, both inside and
outside the hedges. Notes, comments and correspondence from the editor's
A walk back through the
years: some Rice
traditions, foibles and
A season to remember --
Rice football 2008
Rice 38, Western
Rice gets first bowl win since '54, first 10-win season
since '49 after jumping out to 38-0 lead; Reliant Sta- dium a sea of blue; Chase, JD go
out with a flourish
RICE FIGHT NEVER DIES -- Victorious Owls
hail their fellow students after post-game trophy ceremony; nothing but smiles all around
as Rice rolls to convincing victory over MAC foe (PTH photo)
TERRIFIC TRIO -- James Casey, Chase
Clement, Jarett Dillard pose with Caoch Bailiff in front of Texas Bowl trophy; Chase also
picked up trophy of his own for game MVP (PTH photo)
Toren Dixon -- whom Jarett Dillard referred as "the
X Factor" in this game -- hauls in key catch for first down to keep Rice drive alive
(Mark Anderson photo)
HOUSTON (Dec. 31) -- When Rice quarterback Chase Clement slashed 26
yards downfield and across the goal for Rices first Texas Bowl score, a resounding
cheer the likes of which have not been heard in years welled up among the
blue-clad Owl fans filling the home two-thirds of Reliant Stadium.
It was a joyful noise that echoed through labyrinths of time. It harkened back to
Rices win over Texas in 1994; it wafted its way through years and years of football
misfortune and misery. In an instant, it traversed the decades and descended upon a
teeming Rice Stadium, deep in the past, some time in the early days of its existence,
where it melded with the noise of a packed crowd of 72,000 onlookers seemingly the
whole city of Houston, there to cheer on its champion Owl team over a vaunted foe.
Those were the Glory Days of Rice football, and with Chases first touchdown, and
with the 31 consecutive points that the Owls put on the scoreboard after the first seven,
time itself warped back to such times, and in so doing, relegated five decades of Rice
football irrelevancy to the dust bin of history.
Its well-documented elsewhere that the Owls 38-14 romp in the park
over Western Michigan gave the Institute Boys their first bowl win since 1954, and the
resulting 10-3 record comprised the most wins for a Rice team since 1949. Being able to
shovel dirt in the face of long-extant bugaboos is gratifying. Story continues....
(videos including all of Rice's scoring drive highlights
and other good stuff)
Extraordinary It's 'R' Time, indeed x
By Joyce Pounds Hardy, Class of 45, BA '67
Chase to Thor: good old-fashioned hard work (PTH
HOUSTON (Jan. 4) -- Well, it would
have been a miracle, but it wasnt. It was good old-fashioned hard work, an
extraordinary game plan, extraordinary execution, and extraordinary players whose hearts
showed what they were made of Tuesday night.
There in '54, there in '08 From the Distaff End of the Bench
I dont know when I have been more
proud of a bunch of never-say-die Seniors, who led the way down that long road back to
respectability. They never gave up on themselves or let the rest of the guys quit giving a
hundred per cent.
We all know their storythree
coaches in five years, highs and lows that rivaled a roller coaster, injuries that
decimated the starting lineups, youngsters filling big shoes with on-the-field training,
finally having a coach whom they could trust and who believed in them. That very special
group proved that it really was R Time. Continues....
WHAT A DIFFERENCE 61 YEARS MAKE
Offensive show now what captivates fans
THERE WAS A TIME... By Froggy Williams
HOUSTON (Jan. 21) -- I must say first that
the rise of Rice football fortunes in the last three years one has to consider an up and
down event.In fact, it has been a great and
start with 2006. After something of a rebellion by Rice partisans, we got ourselves a new
football coach, a fellow by the name of Todd Graham. Todd has sort of gotten a bad rap at
Rice because of the circumstances by which he left the University.
But Todd now
is in a place much better for him, both figuratively and literally. He is the center of
the athletic universe in Tulsa. It is impossible that he could ever have been the center
of the athletic universe in Houston, comparatively speaking. Too bad he missed those years
when it might have beenpossible. Tulsa
University IS virtually the only game in Tulsa town.
said about Todd, he did his job here. There were a great many ofthose who knew Rice could attract quality athletes.
As it turned out, we already had some quality athletes, we just needed someone to get them
x Busted! Yes, Rice has bowl history! In swan song, Chase, JD give Owls
chance to get back on winning track
'We're all think- ing on the same page
HOUSTON (Dec. 27) Going
into the 2008 season, Chris Ptaszek was challenged by his coaches to contribute more than
ever before to his team. And the senior three- letterman from Tomball, moved from the
offense to defense just prior to commencing his senior year, rose to the challenge
presented by that move, easily having his best year in an Owl uniform.
Tomball's Chris Ptaszek
Chris Ptaszek doesnt need any reminders that next Tuesday night will
be the last time he puts on an Owl uniform. When he steps off the field, it will be the
last time for him, as well as twenty-one other seniors.
"Its not like Ill be going onto next season or next year,"
Chris acknowledged Friday in a brief interview before practice. Story continues....
HOUSTON (Dec. 27) -- Tuesday's Texas Bowl game between Rice and
Western Michigan is a contest many long-in-the-tooth Owl fans frankly had never expected
to see, ere they passed from this orb.
Ironically, at the same time, it's a game that every Owl fan has come to
anticipate with more than a tinge of regret and nostalgia -- a game that they knew had to
come along eventually, but wished that it somehow, some way, might be pushed off just a
bit more into the indefinite future.
For when the Owls and the Broncos tee it up at Reliant Stadium 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, the
game will mark the last time ever that Rice's Dynamic Duo, quarterback Chase Clement and
wide receiver Jarett Dillard, will evermore don the Blue and the Gray. It might well be
the swan song as well, for iron man James Casey, who, if he elects to turn to the spring
NFL draft as many expect him to do, will depart South Main in much the same way Clark Kent
departed Gotham City for the last time, cape, tights, "S" on the chest and all.
A bittersweet moment, in the event, for Owl fans, new and old -- especially
since a coveted bowl win over their MAC opponent would give the Feathered Flock a ten-win
season for only the second time in the 91-odd years that Institute Boys have taken to the
gridiron. It would also mark Rices first bowl victory since the 1954 Cotton Bowl
produced a 28-6 win over Alabama. Story continues....
'War Owl' ready
Former Rice player shows true colors on duty in Iraq
BALAD, IRAQ (Dec. 20) -- Once an Owl, always an
Owl. And once a champion, always a champion.
Ask Sgt. Clemente (Clem) Torres, who's thrilled enough with the
Rice Owls' Texas Bowl appearance that he not only wrote to the team this week but also
displayed his passion for all to see in Balad, Iraq, where he's stationed with the U.S.
Army's Delta Company 3-159th Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.
I thought it would be cool that you saw some pictures of what a War Owl looks
like, wrote Torres. I sent you pictures of me in my War Owl helmet. If that
doesn't pump you up, I wrote 'Go Rice Beat The Broncos' on an old biplane sitting next to
Clem Torres has his own place in Rice legend, having started as a tight end on the
Owl squad that beat the University of Texas in a 19-17 shocker in 1994, which broke a
28-game Longhorn winning streak against Rice. Story continues....
Rice head coach David Bailiff overcame a rocky first
year, now to become the most successful -- and most comfortably ensconced -- Owl coach
since Jess Neely
HOUSTON (Dec. 15) -- The epic journey in a single year from a 3-9 record
to a 9-3 season has got to belie sea changes in attitudes, beliefs, and even basic
relationships among the players, coaches and supporters of a major college football
It's a journey that rarely takes place in college football, and is singularly
unheard of at places such as Rice, with its perceived impediments to easy success on the
But that voyage took place this year under the steady guide of head coach David Bailiff
at the helm, who now sails his team into Rice's second bowl game in three years in a
following sea and a fair wind.
Coach Bailiff tried to convince those who would listen during the dog days of
August that he and his crew were about to sail into new waters this season. To all hands,
it was clear, last year, that a feeling of command just wasn't there yet among the new
Rice mentor, his staff and his players. That came as no surprise, given the turbulent
nature of his predecessor's stormy departure. Story continues....
Once every 50 years or
...a guy like this comes along. For setting team,
league and NCAA receiving records, Jarett Dillard was named first-team All-American by the
Football Writers' Association of America -- the first Owl to receive such recognition from
the FWAA since Buddy Dial in 1958 (Mark Anderson photo)
Mid-Major Main Man
Senior Rice quarterback Chase Clement has been racking up
the post-season kudos, first being named C-USA MVP, then being tapped for the Underdog
Award as the mid-major national player of the year, with likely more honors to come (PTH
x 'I've heard they're located up in western Michigan'
Focus on winning bowl game,
making Rice football history
Andrew: "Well, Ive heard theyre
located up in western Michigan -- that's all I know"
Chase: "It will be a great opportunity to accomplish a lot"
HOUSTON (Dec. 8) It seems Notre Dames Texas Bowl
no-show registered scarcely a blip on the radar screen for the home town contestants in
that game or so insisted Rice head coach David Bailiff and two of his key players
Instead, the attitude is "business as usual" for this Rice team, which
has the opportunity to earn a 10-win season for the first time in over 50 years as a
representative of Rices football fortunes. That, in and of itself, is more than
enough incentive to keep ones eyes on the prize, Coach Bailiff and his players
"First off, we are absolutely thrilled to be staying at home and going to the
Texas Bowl," the Rice head man insisted. "It will be a bowl that our players can
cherish because of all the different events that the bowl gives this is truly an
elite bowl for our guys and they will absolutely love it."
First comes the bonuses incumbent with any bowl berth the ability to work
in several more weeks of practice, the chance to get back to fundamentals. "With our
having this amount of time to get ready," Rice junior DB Andrew Sendejo said,
"we will be able to go back and do some fundamental stuff; we will be able to break
down some of the things that we did wrong in the UH game and we will be able to fix all
those little things. And thats going to help us be ready to play against Western
Michigan." Story continues....
'It was the bowl that we wanted'
No place like home base for Rice bowl aspirations
AD DelConte: 'Super excited'
Coach Bailiff: 'Another opportunity'
HOUSTON (Dec. 3) -- "It was the bowl that we wanted."
That unequivocal comment of Rice head coach David Bailiff rang through the R Room
during Wednesday afternoons press conference wherein university Athletic Director
Chris DelConte and Texas Bowl officials jointly announced Rice's participation in the
upcoming third annual version of the City of Houston's own hometown bowl game.
"We are absolutely thrilled to be able to invite Rice to play in the Texas
Bowl," said Texas Bowl manager Heather Houston. "Rice has had an amazing season
and is one of the most exciting teams in the country. It will be a treat for football fans
in Houston to see the Owls cap off this tremendous run right here at home."
With the choice, Rice officials clearly chose to emphasize building the fan base
by way of playing before a large local audience of non-Rice-affiliated attendees.
"It's another opportunity for the people of Houston to come and see
us," Coach Bailiff told a about 40 local press representatives gathered in the R
Room, video cameras on. "It's a chance for Jarett and Chase to hook up one more time
at home. There are nothing but positives." Story continues....Matt Musil-CDC
Could hardly wait for us to get the
ball back again
A scene that wears well -- who'd ever get tired of
looking at it (except the Coogs)? (PTH photo)
by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67
HOUSTON (Dec. 1) -- Front page news...
RICE BULLDOZES HOUSTON
OWLS OUTSMART COUGARS
COUGARS LEFT SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS
Of course, those are my headlines. However the Chronicle did
put us on the real front page, in color, headlines "BAYOU RUNS BLUE" which was
the nicest sight since the scoreboard read Rice 56, Houston 42.
Joyce's on Cloud Nine From the Distaff End of the Bench
The Chronicle sports page also gave us top billing: OWLS
TAKE OFFENSE, both with photos to die for, huge color celebrations of the team with each
other and with the beautiful Bayou Bucket, which is now home with us.
A super effort by every lineman, every end, every back,
every coach. I have never been so proud of a team for what it showed the world Saturday:
Smart offense, devastating defense, perfect execution, and a game plan that bamboozled
Houston all afternoon. I have never seen our men tackle and block with such fierce
resolve, their hits were crisp, hard, sure stoppers. And they were still going strong at
the last tick of the clock. Continues....
Rice 56, U of H 42
Offense nearly perfect as Cougars fall with a
thud Chase surgical in his precision; Thor breaks Coog hearts with five-TD, 172-yard
performance; Brian Raines rocks UH with game-changing interception
Whose house? Whose Bucket? Whose
town? Rice receiver Toren Dixon answers
all three of those questions emphatically as he raises hand in elation while
crossing goal to put Owls up, 49-28 with 5:43 left in third quarter (Mark Anderson
James Casey takes flight to congratulate Toren Dixon
after TD's game-clinching TD reception (PTH photo)
HOUSTON (Nov. 30) Leave it to good- old- boy UH quarterback
and part-time magician Case Keenum to put the capper on Rices dramatic 56-42 win
over the Cougars Saturday.
"Rice came out, and they played perfect on offense and didn't turn the ball
over," he said afterwards. "And when Rice plays perfect on offense, you can't
get behind like that. You have to capitalize every chance you get. Every time you get the
ball, you need to score, but there were three or four series there where we didn't."
HOUSTON (Nov. 28) Owl fans understandably might be
expected to be on pins and needles, tinterhooks, whatever else feels prickly, as the clock
ticks down to the 34th Bayou Bucket game between Rice University and the University of
Houston Cougars, kickoff at Rice Stadium 2:30 p.m. Saturday (CBS-CS TV).
After all, the Owls are currently sporting an 8-3 season record, and are
tied for first place in the Conference USA Western division standings, with their 6-1
record being the equal of Tulsas and these same Cougars.
There are, in fact, some huge cake-icing factors which may be brought to bear by a Rice
victory Saturday. Such event would bring about a nine-win season for the Feathered Flock,
which simply would be the first time since 1953 that such a lofty won-loss height was
scaled on South Main.
And that, coupled with a not-very-likely Marshall win over the University of
Tulsa Saturday, would propel Rice into the championship game of Conference USA, in line
for a Liberty Bowl berth. And the last time the Owls played in a league championship
bowl game was the 1958 Cotton Bow Continues....Flashback: Rice 10, Houston 7 (Sept. 6, 2004)...
Quite a story
'They will leave a legacy of winning'
On Joyce's Christmas List: Just one, what the heck,
three more magnificent performances by this guy (PTH photo)
by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67
HOUSTON (Nov. 24) --
Number Eight and counting. Great Day in the Morning, we have done it, EIGHT! How sweet it
is and will be even sweeter when we beat the U. of Who on Saturday.
Joyce's ready ...ready to suit out and play linebacker!
Once again our offense showed diversity; Chase back there
pointing his finger (I don't know what he is pointing at but then neither does the other
team), checking the defense, checking the sideline, checking his offensive line, checking
to see where Jarett and James are, 5-4-3-2 good Heavens, snap the ball! I can see going
down to 1 when you're killing time, but most of the time you're just killing me.
Then a veritable plethora of receivers spray out like a
shower head waiting for the bullet to come their way. It's a sight to see. Watching the
game over again on CBS CS, the camera zeroed in on Chase's eyes inside that helmet, and it
was spooky. He was concentrating so hard, his eyes staring out of that hole, that I felt
as if he were looking right through me. Also, before the snap, there is a sort of
fascinating rhythm to the turning of all the backs and receivers in sync toward the
sideline before each play, while the line never moves. Continues....
Rice 35, Marshall 10
Rice defense corrals Herd attack from start to finish,
while offense gets cranked up for 28-3 second-half run; the win moves Owls to 8-3, 6-1 in
Table set for showdown with UH
Willie Garley (L) sets the defensive pace for Owls on the
opening kickoff of Rice's 35-10 win over Marshall, as the Rice 'D' kept the
Thundering Herd behind the fences all day, giving the offense breathing room to work
out early kinks and run roughshod in second half(PTH photo)
Toren Dixon cradles TD catch to provide Owls with
second-half insurance runs (PTH photo)
HOUSTON (Nov. 23) You bifocal-wearing Old- Grad types
probably didnt notice it, but it seems the problems the Rice Owl offense had in
getting untracked the first half Saturday against the Marshall Thundering Herd defense lay
in those sunglasses they were sporting beneath their helmets.
When the first half ended with Rice in a 7-7 stalemate with the visitors from West
Virginia, head coach David Bailiff gathered his entire team in a knot around the 50-yard
line, and even from a distance, one could see that his jaw was getting some exercise in
the event. The lecture, Coach Bailiff admitted later, continued in the halftime locker
room, and when the Owls came out to line up for the second-half kickoff, they brought with
them a whole new attitude.
What kind of line did the resurgent Rice head man lay on his Institute Boys, then,
Rice student section exhults as Jarett Dillard crosses
goal line for yet another record-breaking score; this one put the Owls up to stay early in
the third quarter (PTH photo)
Sammy's got plans for the boys from
Owls get reminder of Cadets' no- quit demeanor every 50 years or so, whether
they need it or not
James A. "Froggy" Williams has settled into the role of unofficial
Historian of Rice Football in recent years, having undertaken a well-received series of
articles and memoirs for the Rice Historical Society. Mr. Williams has agreed to regale
our readers, from time to time, with reminiscences of Rice's gridiron glory days, and can
he ever tell the tale. This, folks, comes directly from the horse's mouth. After all, he
was there for the peak of it, having been a consensus All-American end on the greatest Owl
team ever, its 1950
Cotton Bowl champion, earning membership in the College Football Hall of Fame in
1965. Last week's Army game brought back pointed memories to Froggy. Here, he
tells his story of a Rice-Army game that took place 50 years earlier -- to the day. --PTH
THERE WAS A TIME... By Froggy Williams
HOUSTON -- Did I ever tell you about the time the Lonesome End came
to town? I am sure I have not done so, but after last Saturdays Rice-Army game, I
really feel like I should tell you this story.
Pete Dawkins was an All-American running back for the '58
Army team; the "Lonesome End"? A fellow named Bill
Obviously, the Owls win over the West Point Cadets served as a
reminder of that day, exactly 50 years ago. Since this story is unique, I am ashamed to
say I have missed telling this after making maybe three or four presentations on an era
that should have included it. The date of this occurrence happened to be November 8, 1958.
The date, though obviously coincidental, is entirely without any merit. But now let me set
the stage for you. You may want to relate this story to your grandchildren.
Earl "Red" Blaik was the
coach of the West Point Cadets. He had been there a long time and had great success.
Incidentally, no other coach has approached Blaik's long record at West Point. Anyway,
these Army boys were ranked number three in the nation going into that 58 game with
Now I've gotta tell you something. There was almost nothing that could cause
Jess Neely to prepare for a game more, than when he had a chance to knock off a high
flying group from a prominent school. About the only thing approaching this situation was
when Rice played Tennessee in the Orange Bowl January 1, 1947, after a winning season and
a 1946 Southwest Conference Title. But I digress, as that is another whole story. Story continues....
Not exactly a happy camper
Former Rice head man Todd Graham prowls the sideline at
Robertson Stadium Saturday as his Tulsa team fell to the University of Houston, 70-30; the
loss dropped the Golden Hurricane into a three-way tie for the C-USA Western Division
lead, with UH and, guess who -- the Rice Owls (Mark Anderson photo)x
x (videos including Chase's 61-yard TD run to make it 10-7;
JD's 80-yarder; Corbin Smiter's 54-yard TD reception; defensive stops, more...)
Chase Clement is undoubtedly the captain of the Rice
football ship, and he's set sail on a challenging voyage this, his senior year (PTH
by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67
HOUSTON (Nov. 11) -- Chase Clement was
quoted in the Chronicle as saying Weve done so much, weve come so far,
that just winning isnt enough.Whoa, Chase, speak for
yourself. Theres no such thing as just winning. When you have been
around as long as I have and can count Rices winning seasons on ten fingers, believe
me, a win is a win is a win. You may not be proud of that last game, but we are.
Joyce's back.. ..and she's darned proud of the Owls' win over Army
Some of the adjectives describing our team
puzzled me. Of course, Pollyanna here, didnt notice their being lethargic,
hollow, fizzled, uninspiring, unfulfilled. Coach keeps saying We play one game
at a time, but theres nothing wrong with some wild celebrating when that one
game puts a W in the win column.
As for coming out flat after halftime, I
guess Ill have to start giving out those red Hot Tamales between halves since they
always put a little fire in their bellies and a smile on their faces. Whos the
leader of this team? Sendejo? Raines? Clement? Dillard? I cant
remember who the captains are but your work is cut out for you against Marshall and
Houston. We are not going to fade. Continues....
Rice 38, Army 31
Owls surge to 31-7 lead; make it stand up as defense
holds off fourth-quarter Army rally
COME TO PAPA! -- Rice's Corbin
Smiter hauls in 54-yard third-quarter touchdown bomb from Chase Clement to put Owls up,
38-17 (PTH photo)
FIRST DOWN? Rice's James Casey,
Army defenders look toward down marker to see whether Cadets have held on fourth and one.
They had, but it turned out to be of no consequence (PTH photo)
HOUSTON (Nov. 9) On the first play of the fourth quarter of
Saturdays game between Rice and the U.S. Military Academy, with the Owls ahead by a
seemingly comfortable mark of 38-17, deep in Army territory, Rice strong man James Casey
took a short pass over the middle from Chase Clement and began his inimitable,
body-busting ramble downfield.
At that point, prospects for a Rice rout of the Cadets looked somewhere between
"good" and "certain," as the Rice offense, for all practical purposes,
had not been stopped since early in the second period.
But the always-by-the-book Mr. Casey, with eyes on a 40-plus yard, broken-field
touchdown ramble, just for a moment disregarded one of the bywords of the Rice offensive
attack this season that expression, "ball security."
As Thor stretched downfield for even more yardage, the pigskin was tucked
between his fingertips and wrist, just at a point where Army defender Mario Hill could
take a poke at it.
Call him Captain Comeback II:
In the shadow of greatness x By
x HOUSTON (Nov. 5) -- It was fitting that one of Chase Clement's
comeback victories during his Rice career was against SMU in Dallas last season. Chase
grew up in the shadow of someone you may have heard of who had a few victories just like
Chase's years before -- the famous quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, Roger Staubach,
a/k/a "Captain Comeback."
Chase's family had the privilege - and still does - of having a relationship with
Roger. Chase's grandfather is in the same business - commercial real estate - as the
former Navy All-American is in, and developed a close relationship over the years. Chase
told this writer, "It's been several years since I have seen him, but growing up with
my grandfather and his brother, we'd go hang out at his house and play basketball."
Chase told us that Roger would "play ping pong, throw a baseball, and do all sorts of
But for Chase, perhaps the most vivid memory of Roger was not something that
happened in Dallas, but a golf tournament in Austin. It was the last time Chase saw Roger
as he caddied for Roger, Tom Landry, and his grandfather. "I was fortunate enough to
go and caddy for him," Chase said. "I caddied for all three of those guys, so I
got to be around some good people." Story continues...
x (videos of Rice offensive series including Chase's td run
to make it 21-17; Thor's td run to make it 35-20; Casey's four-yard td reception;
Rice 49, UTEP 44 Casey, Clement lead Owls to another nail-biter win
Rice now bowl-eligible at 6-3, 5-1
ROOKIE STILL AT IT --
Rice walk-on redshirt Travis Bradshaw got some bench time with the return of Andrew
Sendejo against UTEP, but when Trav was on the field, he made the most of it (PTH
OH, FER CRYIN' OUT LOUD -- Rice's James
Casey appears to be riding UTEP defender like a unicycle on this broken-field pass and run
EL PASO (Nov. 2) Lets talk "Bowl eligibility"
(now that were free to do so).
The Rice Owl offense showed Saturday night, in its execution, precision, maturity
and skill, that, far from being a mere worthy bowl participant, it is a serious league
championship contender and a formidable foe for any bowl opponent, BCS-level or not.
But then theres that Rice defense and special teams ah, those defenders
and special teamers.
Rice had better pick an afternoon bowl game to play in this season because, from
what they showed on the floor of the Sun Bowl against the University of Texas-El Paso, the
aforementioned two departments are clearly not ready for prime time.
UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe evaded Rice rushers and tossed four touchdown
passes in the first 20 minutes of the game here Saturday, a contest which saw the Owls
rally from an early deficit and gamely hold on for a 49-44 win by just being damned sure
they kept on scoring at least one touchdown more than the other guys. Story continues....Rice-UTEP
statistics, game summary....
MAILMAN DELIVERS --
Rice all-everything James Casey leaves UTEP defender in his dust as he crosses the goal
line for first of his four touchdowns against the Miners (PTH photo)
It's Sammy vs. the Miners at the
x (videos of Owl first touchdown drive, second TD drive, TD
pass to go up 21-0, blocked punt returned for TD, defensive stops...)
Makes getting up early on Sunday morn
Joyce Hardy From the Distaff End of the Bench
HOUSTON (Oct. 29) --
RICE ROCKS TULANE42-17
OWLS HOLD VAUNTED GREEN WAVE RUNNING
ATTACK TO SEASON LOW 34 YARDS
QB CHASE CLEMENT ACCOUNTS FOR FOUR
TDS TO HELP RACK UP 35-0 HALFTIME LEAD
RICES OFFENSE NOT JUST A 2-MAN SHOW
Now those are praises to die for. Is this
our Houston Chronicle giving half-page photos and four inch headlines to our Rice Owls?
What will they give us when we win number 6 and go bowling? I can hardly wait to see. It
surely makes getting up early on a Sunday morning a joyful thing. Continues....
The Odyssey of C.J. Ugokwe With 100-yard-plus rushing game against Tulane,
the junior from Plano finally comes into his own
The hard-running C. J. Ugokwe also picked up his first
touchdown of the season against Tulane (PTH photo)
By Mark Anderson
x HOUSTON (Oct. 28) -- The dictionary defines the word odyssey as, "a
long, wandering, and eventful journey." Perhaps no player among the Feathered Flock
can lay claim to an odyssey of a career at Rice more than running back C. J. Ugokwe.
The 5-11, 215-pound junior from Plano achieved a personal best Saturday with
111 key rushing yards in Rice's 42-17 victory over Tulane -- the first 100-yard-plus game
of his career.
C.J. came to Rice in the recruiting class of 2005. He was recruited from Plano East
High School by then-coach Ken Hatfield and his staff. His freshman year, he watched as
Quinton Smith seized control of the running back position while C.J. wore a redshirt.
This is where C.J's odyssey took its first turn. Ken Hatfield resigned as head
coach of Rice in November of 2005, and on New Year's Day, as new coach Todd Graham was
named to replace Hatfield. Story continues....
Rice 42, Tulane 17
SMACKDOWN -- Rice defensive line goes
high to block Tulane field goal attempt as first half clock expires; the Owls' Chris Jones
grabbed the blocked try and sprinted 55 yards for the touchdown, adding exclamation point
to the Flock's best half of football in a long, long time (PTH photo)
Owls ride big-play defense, precision offense, special teams thunder in storming to 35-0
halftime lead; then take foot off the gas and coast to 5-3, 4-1 in league
C. J. Ugokwe gets a slew of his 111 yards rushing on the
day on this play; it was the first career century-mark day for the Owl running back (PTH
NEW ORLEANS (Oct. 25) The Rice Owls' charter plane likely
didn't need to use an ounce of jet fuel to fly the team back home to Houston tonight. The
momentum the Owls developed in storming to a 35-0 halftime lead over the Tulane Green Wave
here Saturday afternoon surely should've been enough to get the Institute Boys safely back
to Hobby sans engines.
So overwhelming was the Flock's first-half dominance over the Greenies, that
Rice had coasted to a 28-0, early second-quarter lead before their unfortunate opponents
had been able to garner more than a single first down..
But injury was added to insult when, on the final play of the first half,
the whole center of the Rice defensive line rose up to block a Ross Thevenot field goal
attempt (Scott Solomon got the spike), whereupon Chris Jones grabbed the caroming ball,
wide open in the flat, and raced 55 yards for a touchdown after the clock had expired.
If there were precious few Tulane fans in the cavernous Superdome for
the opening kickoff, there remained even fewer when a noticeable number of them began to
file out of the stadium in disgust at the score, as the visiting MOB took the field. Story continues....
More photos, highlight video to come....
x (videos of two Jarett Dillard touchdown receptions,
another by Toren Dixon, James Casey, a sack by Todd Mohr, Bradshaw, Leary, other big
Beautiful game, beautiful stadium,
beautiful day x
HOUSTON (Oct. 21) -- Hey all of you couch potatoes sitting indoors watching your TV
games, you missed a great opportunity to experience what college football is all about
Saturday afternoon. It was beautiful.
Back on track Joyce Hardy wonders where the rest of you were
Of course, Rice beating Southern
Mississippi, 45-40, in a nip and tuck battle of the air balls certainly made it more
exciting. This was another one of those jumping games where I get all my exercise for the
week in 4 hours.
Not only did I jump up six times for Rice
touchdowns plus a field goal, but for some unbelievable receptions for first downs, runs
for tough yardage, a knock-the- ball-out-of-our-
receivers-hands-fumble-bounce-catch-run- touchdown, and a
grab-theball-out-of-the-opponents-hands- recovery for a Rice first down, but
also an onside kick by Southern Miss in the last seconds of the game which was caught by a
flying Casey, who was promptly flipped for a 360 in the air, to end the game.Who
needs 24 Hour Fitness? Continues....
Rice 45, Southern Miss 40
GIFT HORSE -- Rice's James Casey swoops
up ball on the first bounce after downfield fumble by receiver Patrick Randolph; it's
smooth sailing ahead for Thor as he heads for paydirt (PTH photo)
x Owls outpace USM, hang on for narrow victory that
would'a, could'a, should'a been a blowout Chase throws for 6 TDs, 3 to JD
By the way, here's the end of James Casey's TD fumble
recovery and TD run which started in the pic above -- "Bizarre" was Thor's
reaction (PTH photo)
HOUSTON (Oct. 18) -- What looked to be a knee-slapper turned out to
be a heart-stopper, as the Rice Owls managed to stave off three, fourth-quarter Southern
Missisippi touchdowns and escape with a 45-40 victory before an announced crowd of 11, 179
here Saturday afternoon, in so doing extending their league record to 3-1 and remaining in
the thick of the division title race and the quest for a bowl game this season.
The Owls twice held three-touchdown leads in the second half, only to see them
dwindle to five-point margins both times, thanks to some determined play by the USM
offense, some frustratingly inconsistent Rice defensive play, and some rather bizarre
calls by the fellows in the striped shirts.
In the end, it took a James Casey recovery of an onsides kick with 15 seconds left in
the game to finally seal the deal, a play which capped a huge day for the Terrific Trio of
quarterback Chase Clement, wide receiver Jarett Dillard, and do-it-all utility man Casey.
On the day, the stat sheet looked gaudy for all three Rice offensive standouts
as Chase and Jarett padded their ongoing NCAA pitch-and-catch record while JD also
continued to rewrite league record books with his three touchdown receptions. Chase threw
for a total 444 yards and six touchdowns, including the three to Jarrett.
Besides recovering that game-sealing onsider, Thor, meanwhile, also added a
downfield fumble recovery and 26-yard touchdown sprint in the fourth, along with a
leaping, twisting, touchdown catch-and-run in the second quarter. His athletic moves,
typical for the Owl utility man, left USM fans shaking their heads as they filed sullenly
out of Rice Stadium. After all, it was the second year in a row that the Golden Eagles had
struck out against the Mighty Casey. Story continues....First photos....Final
and company led the Owls to a 34-7 victory over the University of Texas before a packed
house of 72,000 at Rice Stadium. For the City of Houston, it was the athletic, and
social, event of the season. Were you there? (Rice Campanile) Fleeting moment
in Texas game brought back flood of memories to one Owl
Ricefootball.net welcomes a new contributor to its pages, someone who quite
neatly fits into the category of "Living Legend." James A.
"Froggy" Williams has settled into the role of unofficial Historian of Rice
Football in recent years, having undertaken a well-received series of articles and memoirs
for the Rice Historical Society. Mr. Williams has agreed to regale our readers, from time
to time, with reminiscences of Rice's gridiron glory days, and can he ever tell the tale.
This, folks, comes directly from the horse's mouth. After all, he was there for the peak
of it, having been a consensus All-American end on the greatest Owl team ever, its 1949
Orange Bowl champion, earning membership in the College Football Hall of Fame in
1965. The old pass-catcher leads off with his recollections emanating from this
year's 91st clash between Rice and the University of Texas. --PTH
THERE WAS A TIME... By Froggy Williams
There really has been a rather outstanding longtime rivalry between
Texas University and Rice University. Oh yes, I know that Rice has not won a game with UT
in many years. It was in 1994 that this last happened, when the Owls won by 19-17.
As Rice partisans know, Texas usually scores about fifty some-odd points. Rice
will vary from one to maybe three touchdowns. In this year's game, eventually won by
Texas in Austin, 52-10, it was the first time in many years that Rice actually led
Texas at any point in a game. Texas did finally score the usual 50-plus points, but
what a heady feeling to know Rice was really in the lead in the early going. It is
doubtful that any Rice partisan really thought the Owls would win. There may well be some
younger Owls who have never seen the Owls lead the Longhorns!
Rice's James Casey provided several highlights against
Tulsa, passing for, running for and catching a touchdown pass for the Owls; here
he's seen hurtling downfield in 29-yard pass-and-run over, around and through half of
Tulsa defense (Mark Anderson photo)
Though painful, Owl mis-step needs to be put
in perspective c by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67
x GALVESTON (Oct. 6) -- I was so upset Sunday that I couldnt write about the
game. Boy, that one hurt.
No tragedy in loss to Tulsa
Joyce Hardy visits post-Ike Galveston
I knew that we werent bulletproof,
but I thought we were past shooting our- selves in the foot, not once not twice but five
times. And on TV--again. I hope CBS-C paid us something for that public humiliation.
Whatever it was, it wasnt enough.
However, today, Monday, I forgot about
our misfortune, I forgot about our loss, I forgot about the ill wind that blew, and the
surge of the Golden Hurricanes that sunk our dreams, I forgot about my pain over a
football game. Today, I spent seven hours in Galveston. Continues....
63, Rice 28 Tulsa, Graham have their fun as Rice effort falters
14-14 second-quarter tie turns into blowout runaway as Owls are overwhelmed by their
own gaffes, thin defensive ranks, Tulsa offensive slickness
STOCK PORTFOLIO WORRIES? Tulsa head
coach Todd Graham seems pre-occupied as he emerges from the halftime locker room during
Saturday's Rice-Tulsa game; as it turned out, his concerns were soon met by two quick
Tulsa scores which put the game out of reach (Mark Anderson photo)
TULSA (Oct. 5) Well, alright, we think we
have the words to the Tulsa fight song pretty much down pat by now.
The couple hundred or so Rice fans who braved their way to the Oklahoma Hills to
see their Owls take on arch-nemesis Todd Graham and his Tulsa Golden Hurricane this fine
evening got to hear that fight song over and over and over again, as the finely-tuned and
slickly-executing Tulsa offense -- with the help of a couple major SNAFUs by the Owl
special teams and the occasional curious Rice offensive play call -- found the end
zone often enough to pile up 63 points against the boys from South Main, while the good
guys, alas, could come up with only 28.
The game was a nail biter in the first half, as Rice matched Tulsa score for score
until the last moments of the second quarter. Then, with the score tied at 14 all, the
Tulsans managed to return a squib kick to their own 43, and from there it took them only
six plays to barrel the ball downfield for a score that gave the Golden Hurricane a 21-14
There was no major cause for alarm among the Rice faithful at that time,
however. The Owls as of halftime had matched Tulsa blow for blow, and had equaled them on
the stat sheet as well. Rice quarterback Chase Clements passing touch appeared to be
a little bit off his usual pinpoint precision, but even so, under his direction the Owls
had cranked up two long drives for their 14 first-half points.
Rice-UNT video highlights
x (videos of Arnaud's quick pick-six, another record-breaking TD
catch by Jarett Dillard, Chase's 26-yard TD run, and other big plays from Rice's 77-20 win
over North Texas)
Enough to make me want to go to Tulsa -- almost
A romp in the park
Joyce Hardy revels in UNT victory
by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67
HOUSTON (Sept. 30) -- I wanted more!! I was loving
this. I didn't even know our scoreboard could go as high as 77.
Our box, full of screaming, joyful Rice Owls (except for my guest
who was from North Texas) was jumping up and down as we were on a trampoline, high fiving,
and making sure that we didn't miss the replay of another amazing touchdown. The fun was
Clement to Dillard, Clement to Dillard, Clement to Dillard. They wanted all the
hoopla to be "over with," but I would have been happy to see hoopla #42, #43,
and #44. I am so proud of those two guys for breaking the NCAA record, especially in Rice
Stadium where we could all bask in the glory of their accomplishment. And just think there
are more games to play. It makes me want to go to Tulsa. Almost.
There were so many fine plays on this sunshiny, breezy autumn day, I didn't want it to
Rice 77, North Texas 20
Owl offense runs wild, Rice scores most points since
1916 in runaway victory over UNT; Chase, JD set NCAA TD reception record; defense
gets two more pick-sixes
Owl receivers hauled in five touchdown passes against UNT
Saturday -- four from quarterback Chase Clement and one from halfback Jeramy Goodson
(Mark Anderson photo)
By Bob Reinhold
x HOUSTON(Sept. 28) Wow! Trap game? What trap game? Some Rice fans were worried that after
four tough games -- and with Tulsa looming next week -- the Owls might be looking past
North Texas. After all, UNT was winless and not a big "name" school.
But with great leadership from Chase Clement, Jarett Dillard, David
Berken, James Casey, et al., the Owls were anything but flat as they stormed past the Mean
Green, 77-20, here Saturday.
On a beautiful, albeit warm, Saturday afternoon at Rice
Stadium the Rice offense put on a precision performance not before
offered by the blue and gray since before World War I. Consider this: 10
first half possessions, and the final one was with only 1.8 seconds left in the half and
we took a knee. The result of those 10 possessions? Eight Rice touchdowns.
Rice scored on its first six possessions -- and on the
seventh UNT fumbled a punt whereupon the Owls scored three plays later. On its next
possession Chase Clement and Jarett Dillard combined for their 41st TD combo to up the
lead to 56-20 at the half.
Owl parade of touchdowns started early, kept on
coming against UNT (Mark Anderson photo)
When news eventually reached, wasn't
positive "Beer good. Game bad. Thanks." x by Joyce Pounds Hardy
Class of '45 BA '67 (you figure it out)
x HOUSTON (Sept. 23) -- Hurricane Ike, Vanderbilt, and Texas.
None out of three is no fun
Joyce Hardy mulls the storm, Vandy, and Texas
Three pretty bad storms for Rice to have to weather in
one week. The football team was faring about as well as their fans back in Houston, who
were without power, too. The team took off for Tennessee just before the monster, who was
swirling like a giant whirlpool covering the entire Gulf of Mexico, came ashore. So long
Rice Owls, so long Galveston, so long Bolivar, so long Crystal Beach, so long Gilcrest, so
On Saturday, when I realized that I had survived, exhausted from running from window to
window for 24 hours with a flashlight, I had one consolation, as I lit candles all over
the house (I no longer think that candles are romantic.) My freshly battery-loaded
transistor radio, that $100 one that is powerful enough to pick up 97.5 FM, was ready for
the Rice-Vanderbilt game. I clung to that little radio knowing that at 6pm I could at
least let my mind settle on something else besides 120 mile an hour winds, more rain,
downed trees, and no electricity.
Wrong. All I could get was whiny music. I checked to make sure that I had not
mistakenly tuned to KTRU, but no it was the correct number. Same music, different station.
With no computer, no newspaper, I didn't know who won the game for three days; until Buck
was sawing giant limbs which covered my front yard and he discovered the Chronicle buried
there under what used to be my Chinese Tallow tree. We lost. Continues....
Texas 52, Rice 10 Beef on beef, Owls
'good' but UT 'prime' Another exercise in futility for Owls, who are over- whelmed by Texas
athleticism, not to mention
98,000 fans and inconsistent play of their own
Rice's Andrew Sendejo had 17 tackles in the Texas game;
here he corrals UT quarterback John Chiles (Mark Anderson photo)
AUSTIN (Sept. 21) About all that needs to be written about this
91st meeting between the University of Texas Longhorns and the Rice Owls can be summarized
in a couple of paragraphs describing how the Owls failed to score in 11 plays inside the
Texas five yard line, after having driven the length of the field down 21-3 in the second
Those Rice fans and alums who resent AD Chris Del Contes exhortations to
chip in an extra grand apiece for prime basketball seats as, candidly, a quid pro quo
for not having to participate in games like this should be subjected to the Ludovico
Treatment, like Malcom MacDowell having their eyelids pried open and drops put in, then
having to watch the video sequence of
the Flocks ill-fated goal-line assault over and over and over again.
Certainly, that goal line series was the most disheartening vignette for
the long-suffering Institute Boys in this series, at least since when, in '91, the refs
disallowed a Rice two-point play that would have given a much-deserved victory to the
Owls, 32-31, instead of the 31-30 loss that went down in the books. But we digress.
The sordid scene was thus: Texas had just gone out in front, 21-3, courtesy of a
99-yard, 12-play drive and then a 60-yard flea-flicker pass play from Colt McCoy to Jordan
Shipley. On the ensuing kickoff, a touchback, naturally, the Owls started at their 20,
with 7:22 remaining in the first half. Story continues.... Box
Rice quarterback Chase Clement spent most of the evening
running for his life, and a few times he even managed to escape for a bit (Mark
Vanderbilt 38, Rice 21 Too little, too soon Injury-plagued defense,
vanishing-act offense, no-show special teams play all add up to doom effort against Vandy
Chase Clement skips across goal line with relative ease
as Owls pile on the total offense in first half against Vanderbilt (PTH photo)
NASHVILLE (Sept. 14) -- One of the oldest saws in the book has it that
there are three aspects to the game of football offense, defense and special teams.
And to be in a position to win any given football game, a team has to win two out of three
Perhaps the most frustrating thing about Rices 38-21 loss to Vanderbilt
Saturday was the fact that a superior performance in at least one of those
categories might have been enough to sway the day, despite Vanderbilts ability to
move the ball on the ground with little interdiction.
The Rice defense, which, after Brandon King went out with a career-ending injury in the
second quarter, was playing without five of its best 11, still managed to hang on
valiantly for a half before wearing down in the face of superior athleticism.
"We were missing some players tonight," Rice head coach David Bailiff
said afterwards, in what has to be the understatement of this young season. Not even
mentioning two injured senior linebackers, Brian Raines and Vernon James, who stand as the
heart of the Owl defense, the Rice mentor pointed out, "Our starting defensive ends
didn't even make the trip."
She's back! And even MORE pumped up!
Joyce Hardy celebrates the
HOUSTON (Sept. 9) -- Forget the Zantac!
Buck had to get the defib- rillator; his mother was fibrillating. I'm wacky enough
without you all banging on my heart. However, I'll just keep the jumper nearby for all the
games and raise the decibels as I happily yell "GO RICE GO!"
In the breathtaking final seconds of the game, when Jammer (I love
that name) intercepted that pass and took off running, Buck and I were up on our feet
jumping up and down whooping like banshees, hollering "GO GO GO..."
when the phone rang. I picked it up and yelled hello, still screaming "GO
It was my son, Larry, calling from the hospital to
celebrate with us. "What game are you watching?" as the noise hit a massive
crescendo and Jammer (I love that name) crossed the goal line. "Rice, of course, we
just made a touchdown to go ahead of Memphis with 11 seconds left on the clock." Continues....
Rice 42, Memphis 35
Chris Jammer gives every ounce of his energy, straining
as he crosses the goal line, after completing a 69-yard interception return that capped a
29-point fourth quarter rally against Memphis -- 22 of those coming in the last 6:28 of
the game (PTH photo) Wow! Jammer's walk-off Pick Six
puts capper on stunning Owl comeback
Chase Clement scrambles for key yardage starting at his
own 6 yard line, first play of a 94-yard, game-tying touchdown drive (MA photo)
MEMPHIS (Sept. 7) Even the most die-hard Rice Owl fan would
have to be forgiven for exhibiting at least a slight bit of skepticism when the University
of Memphiswide receiver Maurice Jones moon-walked his way into the end zone for a
35-20 UM lead with just over eight minutes left in the game here Saturday night.
The 39-yard TD reception re-energized the home crowd of 28,351 and put what
appeared to be a killing lance in the side of the Owls, who had battled back from a
previous 15-point deficit and hung around long enough to have a chance in the contest.
After all, when your teams vaunted offense is held to 90 total first-half yards
and only five first downs in the first two quarters and the best receiver in your
schools history drops a sure-fire touchdown bomb during that stanza you have
the right to conclude that its simply not your night, and pack up the equipment for
Rice's Andrew Sendejo (R) celebrates
with Kramer Lucio after interception return for touchdown, one of two scores off turnovers
turned in by Andrew in the third quarter (Mark Anderson photo) Big-play defense tees up Rice offense for big
Chase throws six TD passes, the first four to four different receivers; JD gets three
HOUSTON (Aug. 29) -- The oft-maligned Rice defense rose to new heights
here Saturday night, fairly blowing a befuddled SMU Mustang team out of Rice Stadium,
turning one of two recovered fumbles and three interceptions into touchdowns as the Owls
cruised to a 56-27 win over the Ponies.
Chase Clement led the Rice offense to 30 first downs and 466 total offense on the
evening, but that latter figure was deceptive, because, after the defense scored two TDs
and set up two more chip-shot scores in the third quarter, it was "game over,"
and the offense went into shut-down mode the rest of the evening. Story continues....Box
Jarett: "This is my senior year, and this is how were going to do
it" (MA photo)
HOUSTON (Aug.28) When the word "senioritis" comes
to mind, one generally thinks of a fellow who is thinking "D"as in
"diploma." More often than not, when assignments are done, its usually on
the "good enough for government work" theory. Senioritis is often associated
with just counting the days until Graduation Day, when the next step in life begins.
That generalization, however, would not apply to the seniors on this Rice Owl
This 2008 version of the Feathered Flock has three senior captains: Chase Clement,
Jarett Dillard, and Brian Raines. These three young men could be said to embody
SenioritisThe Rice (Right) Way.
To get a grip on the current attitude of the Rice Owls, and the captains of the
team in particular, one must go back to their arrival on Main Street and the changes that
have happened since. While Brian Raines was from the Houston area (Ft. Bend Willowridge),
Chase Clement and Jarett Dillard both hail from San Antonio. Story continues.... Does anybody ever read this thing?
Reader interest appears to mirror
success of team or lack thereof Indicates average just under 3 million home page hits a year
HOUSTON (Aug. 25) -- In
its eleven-odd years of existence, this publication has never announced readership figures
of any kind. To begin with, the thought was that the highest possible circulation number
was not an appropriate goal; rather, the idea was to provide a resource for the Rice
football-adhering community, be it large or be it minuscule, to resort to in good times or
bad, thick media coverage or thin.
And admittedly, there have been more of the latter than the former over the past
decade. Too, with the relatively demure size of Rices cozy cadre of hardcore
football fans, we never expected to break any kind of records for total readership.
Still, the questions occasionally come: Do you people have ANY readers at all?
Wouldnt you have more if you went "legitimate"?
Coach Bailiff's Monday
press conference "Rice feels like home. This team feels like mine. And that's
exciting. I like this football team....we have tremendous senior leadership. The
seniors now realize that they can influence an entire football team -- and they've done
that....I can't wait to get to work every morning..." Part 1.... Part 2 (q&a)....
'I'll have that one
on the rocks, waiter'
Rice All-American wide receiver
Jarett Dillard gets a fast cool-down after a hard workout in the Houston heat and
humidity; he obvious takes his whirlpool cocktail on the rocks (Mark Anderson photo) Time to answer the dinner