Owls Get the Ugly Win, Shut Down Kansas

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John Royal
When in doubt for a halftime show, go with the flag

The Rice football team that all Rice fans know and loathe showed up at Rice Stadium on Saturday night. In years past this would have meant a Rice lost. But luckily, the Owls were hosting the Kansas Jayhawks, and the Jayhawks are an awful football team. It was an ugly game, a largely boring game, punctuated by a few spurts of excitement. And at the end, the Owls walked off the field, 23-14 victors to go 1-1 for the season.

The Owls offense did nothing for a majority of the game, accumulating just 70 yards of offense for the first quarter with a promising opening drive being doomed by penalties that resulted in the Owls facing a third down with 33 yards needed for the first. The Owls defense bailed the team out with linebacker Michael Kutzler intercepting a Jake Heaps pass and returning it 52 yards for the only score of the first quarter.

Kicker Chris Boswell nailed two field goals to keep Rice on top 13-7 as the half. And it was Boswell who put the Owls back in the lead, for good, when he boomed a 56-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter. The defense kept Kansas bottled up, and the offense, under back-up QB Driphus Jackson, showed one last, much needed grasp of life, culminating in running back Charles Ross taking a pitch for eight yards to score the Owls only offensive touchdown of the night.

So with the Kansas game done and the Bayou Bucket coming up this week, here are a few game two observations about the Owls.

CHRIS BOSWELL IS A MACHINE

Rice head coach David Bailiff likes to compare kicker Chris Boswell to a golf bag, stating that it's like he's got a different leg to use for the differing distances. He also tells us that Boswell has no fear and thinks he can make a field goal from any distance. It's about gotten to the point that if the Owls reach the opposing team's 40-yard line, then the team can count on getting at least three points out of the drive.

"I don't really have a different mindset for every different kick," Boswell said. "I just try to kick it as hard as I can, and get the ball up as fast as possible because they bring a pretty good rush. I don't try to chip it more, I don't try to drive it more. I just kick everyone as hard as I can and pray that it goes in."

Boswell's quick to credit his teammates for his success, noting the line, long-snapper, and holder are the ones who make the kicks possible. But without the leg and the focus, the work of his teammates would be meaningless.


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4 comments
mymrbig
mymrbig

Worth noting that Rice gave up fewer yards to A&M than Sam Houston or Alabama (with caveats). The Owls have talent and depth on both sides of the ball to have a great year, what they need is to show up consistently focused.

mymrbig
mymrbig

It is worth noting that Rice gave up fewer yards to A&M than Sam Houston or Alabama. Both units have the potential to be pretty good when they maintain focus and execute. Certainly the deepest Rice team in years, combining with a favorable schedule.

WestSideBob
WestSideBob topcommenter

We need The A Game this week to assure The Bucket stays in the Rice locker room for another year.

rat618
rat618

As you said ugly win with some bright spots. Now if the coaching staff will just play to win against UH with Driphus starting (unlike last year) since Taylor got dinged maybe the offense will show up. The loss of Nwosu was a concern but Kutzler's play minimized the loss.

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