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02joyce2a.jpg (27807 bytes)From the distaff end of the bench...
By Joyce Pounds Hardy-McDonald '45

Notes and comments by Rice's number one fan

David, you just need some bigger stones

HOUSTON (Sept. 28) -- The Darrel Royal Texas Memorial Stadium is certainly memorable. So how come I forgot that it was built for mountain goats? Every time I go there, I vow I won’t ever go back.

I enjoyed the bus ride. The Alumni Barbeque was outstanding. I got hugged by the whole Rice baseball team, saw old friends, made new ones, blew up my blue wiener-looking balloons, and set off for the stadium, "not very far away."

I had forgotten that Austin is all uphill or up steps or up ramps. As a matter of fact, I didn’t forget, I just didn’t want to remember how hard it was on these old legs. As usual, our little pie-wedge of blue was tucked in a corner just over the Hobbit hole that our football team came in and out of. It seemed to me that they descended one at a time, but that just gave us more time to cheer them on.

Too late, I found out that our section was 50 yards beyond the playing field. Weird! If I looked straight ahead, I saw the UT dance team in sequined chaps and the canon-keepers and about 20,000 of the 82,000 standing, orange-clad Longhorn faithful. When did everyone decide that you weren’t a rabid-macho fan unless you stood up the whole game? When the 150-yards-worth of standing fans to my right stood up, I couldn’t see any of the field or the huge replay screen on my right.

In fact, I didn’t see any of the game until I got home and watched the video- taped replay on TV. I could see the scoreboard on my end of the field, but aside from the usual score, quarter, time-outs, and yards-to-go for a first down (which helped me follow the game,) UT only displayed the name, number, height, weight, and hometown of whomever the Longhorn was who made the last spectacular run or tackle. Big Deal!

The game? In retrospect, I wish we had those two touchdowns back that we lost to penalties. The score would have looked better anyway. If that unintentional tap on the back was a "roughing the passer", I have blue hair and the referee had orange underwear!

I thought our players were big and getting bigger, but their line really did outweigh us 50 pounds and stand 2 inches taller per man. They hit us just as hard as we hit Houston and Hawaii—and Zounds! Every Longhorn player tracked that ball like a birddog. We didn’t seem to have anyone at home when they ran our ends. That was tough on first down runs.

I know we’re stronger this year and faster than we have ever been, but the Longhorns were tree stumps with .4 flat hundreds. Benson, who really is a spectacle to watch, was a bowling ball, rolling, spinning, bull-dozing through our line. And I don’t remember our defense laying a hand on Young, much less a sack.

Henderson and Bailey had been scouted to the Nth degree, and Rice had to dig hard for every yard it made. Armstrong looked good, especially on that 44 yard hurtling run for a TD, and Sparks’ interception for a TD was a beauty. When their Senior quarterback, Mock, came in and played against our Freshman quarterback, Armstrong, Mock didn’t measure up.

Typically, Coach Brown said that the score wasn’t indicative of the game—"it was even because we took everybody out." Attention, Mac! Coach Hatfield played everybody on his Travel Roster. He emptied the bench, I’ll bet you didn’t do that.

The second half was certainly a draw, 7-7. David, you just needed some bigger rocks to throw at Goliath in that first half. 

No doubt about it, I yelled when my fellow Owls did, beat my blue balloons together, and was glad I was there to show my love for my Rice Owls, but next time, I’m going to take a periscope. If I ever have another mental block and decide to return to UT’s stadium, it will be because, like the song "When The Saints Go Marching In" says, I want to be among that number when the Owls go marching in!

Email Joyce.....

Editor's note:  Joyce Pounds Hardy-McDonald graduated from the Institute in its football glory days.   She sent a whole generation of Hardy children to Rice, as both students and student- athletes  -- that familiarly-named classmate of yours was almost surely one of them.  Joyce has been among Rice's most omnipresent, loyal, never-say-die fans since before most of you were born -- and you'd better believe she's managed to develop an opinion or two about Rice athletics over the years. She'll be letting her opinions be known from time to time during the 2004 season.

Joyce's 2003 Distaff archives....

Previous years' Distaff archives....

Let's see a little blue in that sea of orange

HOUSTON (Sept. 19) -- Holy Mackerel!! What a win! And I was there.

Thank heavens, because I had two tape recorders set perfectly on Channel 51. Only problem, the old brain forgot that Channel 51 is really Channel 2, for some reason I have never understood, obviously. I rushed straight home after the celebration and the fantastic fireworks to savor a total replay of the victory over Hawaii no matter how late I had to stay up.

Wrong! There was only a bunch of gibberish on my tapes. Both of them! Small brain is also growing forgetful. Did anyone out there remember the correct numbers and record that jewel? Maybe I can call Channel 51 a.k.a. 2 and buy a copy. It's a keeper.

I'm glad that I have been lifting weights, albeit only 10 pounds per arm, because it is keeping me ready for all the clapping, balloon banging, and arm pumping as our Owls continue to amaze and delight us. The University of Houston game was no fluke! Defense, you were awesome. Another 5 sacks and only 7 yards rushing for Hawaii.

We knew the passing arm of Chang was going to be our greatest challenge, and it was, but knowing Chang doesn't like to run (unlike our scampering Henderson) our pass defense did a terrific job of causing some missed catches. I really wanted a couple of interceptions, but save those for U.T. next week and I'll be happy. The passing rush on Chang rattled him mightily, even though he was slippery as an eel and could step out of our charging linemen's way in the blink of an eye.

I had a hard time watching all the holding that the Gestapo surrounding Chang got away with. Of course, I thought it was pretty obvious that the referees seemed to be throwing yellow flags only at the blue shirts. I would have sworn that we had 20 penalties and was surprised to read this morning that there were only 9. I surely didn't remember Hawaii's getting 3.

With every long run (Moore,) first down (Henderson and Company,) or grinding drive through Hawaii's hefty defense (Bailey,) I held my breath until I didn't see a yellow bird flying somewhere. The yellow beak and yellow claws of our 50 yard-line replica of Sammy makes my heart stop for a second or two on every play until I realize they aren't flags.

The fumbles hurt, but the runners were always trying to make one more yard; that's one of those good news/bad news things--trouble is Texas is probably drooling over those unprotected balls and looking forward to making them fly. Get out the Elmer's, Coach.

The guys in the trenches, offense and defense, linemen and backs, blocked and tackled with consistent ferocity. Such tenaciousness has been a long time in coming and is much appreciated. Do me a favor, guys, and pack all of it in your duffel bags when we go to Texas next week-end. We'll need all of it, but I believe this team is going to do battle and surprise some of those 80,000 smug Longhorns.

I'm signed up for the Owl Club bus trip to the game in Austin, but we need more bodies to make it happen. Even though U.T.'s tickets cost $55 for our usual endzone seats, a little more blue in that sea of orange would be nice. Since it's Texas, the game will probably be on ESPN or Fox Sports SW and I can find those stations, but I want to BE there with our team, cheering and beating those kookie blue weiner-balloons and pumping my arms like a crazy woman for every yard that they gain.

And I can do it, too. That's why I'm lifting those weights.

What's with those reporters, anyway?  This terrific game was all about Rice, not UH

HOUSTON (Sept. 8) -- I may be prejudiced (no, count on it!), but Rice outplayed UH with tenacity and heart Sunday that I haven't seen in years! I couldn't be more proud of them. I waved and beat those crazy blow-up weiner-looking balloons in the air for 60 minutes and I couldn't lift my arms Monday.

I was surprised that all of the sports coverage was about what the Cougars didn't do, couldn't do, or "did last year" instead of what the Owls DID do Sunday, September 5th at 4pm, 2004.

It was sort of a back-handed way of saying that, yes, Rice did its job; yes, Rice did its homework; Yes, Rice had nine sacks and fourteen tackles for lost yardage; yes, Rice had six opportunities to score (and UH didn't have but two); yes, Rice had Kolb running for his life, and yes, UH didn't cross the 50 yard line until the third quarter, BUT...

But what?

I wanted someone to say that UH had minus 8 yards rushing until the very end of the game. I wanted someone besides Coach Hatfield to say that NEVER has Rice's defense swarmed with such precision, they blocked Houston runners off their feet with flying wipe-outs, they grabbed shirts and held on until they pulled their man down, they zeroed in on ball carriers like sonar missiles. 

I wanted someone to say that when a lineman or a back got hold of an offensive Cougar, he didn't get away, no amount of twisting or turning let them escape. Their runners dropped like rocks where they were hit. I have never been so proud of our defense. Never, and I've been rooting for these Owls for 60 years now.

I have never had so much confidence in our pass defense, they did a great job sticking to the receivers and messing up their pass routes, and I noticed that Coach Hatfield finally took my advice and sent out two defenders on the receivers!. We were so close to intercepting three or four more of Kolb's passes. Hope you don't forget what you guys did when we play against Hawaii, because I know what Chang can do.

Seems the sportswriters (SW) were sighing mightily about UH's next opponents, Oklahoma and Miami. Poor things. And "even Rice" just gave them a major kick in the derrier. Guess that will delay their dream of moving on to the Big 12, as Maggard wishes. Maybe the Big 12 will be willing to exchange Houston for Baylor. I wish someone had commented on Rice's next two opponents, Hawaii and Texas. No small potatoes themselves.

I wish they (the SW) had commented on Briles substituting six players on every play. Now that was a puzzlement I could use an answer for. I wish the SW had commented on our offense taking the gifts from our defense and knocking on the 2 yard line, the 7 yard line, the 10 yard line, where we should have converted the drives into points. I still think that Bailey's forward motion (and his second and third efforts never letting his legs quit digging) made it into the endzone. But as I said, I'm pretty prejudiced.

It was really tough missing two field goals that we should have had. More points were there but fell short. Our punter did an amazIng job, getting one off after a high center and a juggled football and still averaged 42 yards. The kick offs were all in the end zone which  was the first I've seen in a long time.

Henderson can flat-out throw that pigskin, if the football is still made out of that stuff. And why not, pigs are not on the endangered specii list. But then, maybe some do-gooder felt sorry for the pigs, who knows? Anyway, as soon as we can catch all the passes (I am hoping for more than 7 next game), we will surprise more teams.

The Houston-Rice Summary was all about Houston. What's with these reporters--seems the only time they jump on Rice's bandwagon and decide we are worthy of their precious ink is when we win the NCAA National Championship World Series in baseball.

Certainly, the final stats don't reflect how much Rice dominated the game. I know because I was counting and UH didn't have but 104 yards passing until those last 9 seconds, and most of those were from 3 long pass receptions (which I must admit were 3 very remarkably acrobatic catches.) Most of their 15 pass receptions were not even for first downs. Well, it seemed like that to me.

Thanks, guys, for a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

Hats off to Coach Hatfield and Coach Hinshaw. It was a sweet sweet victory, "underdogs" that we were! I just wanted someone to name all of our heroes, but then it would have been half of our roster. I was looking up numbers and names the whole game, but, believe me, I will be calling all of you by name by the end of the season. 


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