Are You Ready for Some Football? Well, the Rice Owls Sure Weren't
Stop me if you've heard this before. Rice beating Rice. The little mistakes leading to big plays. The Owls thought they could win the game. Then stop me if you've heard this before. The Owls come out slow, fall behind by a huge amount, rally, then fall way short in defeat.
The Bruins devoured the Owls last night.
The college football season opened for the Rice Owls last night. And shockingly, the Owls lost 49-24 to the UCLA Bruins. The loss wasn't shocking; this is the Owls, after all. And the way in which the Owls lost wasn't shocking either.
It's the same thing from game to game. From season to season. The defense gets burned on a big play. The offense commits a turnover. The coaching staff doesn't make adjustments at the half. The team has to crawl out of a large hole largely of its own making. And in the end, the hole's just too large for the Owls to climb out. This time, the Owls were down 19-0 with 8:28 to go in the first quarter. They crawled back into the game, getting to within 19-17 early in the second quarter only to see the wheels fall off again.
The halftime score was 35-24 UCLA. The score after the third quarter was 35-24. But UCLA was able to tack on 14 more points in the fourth quarter and the Owls, who failed to adjust to changes UCLA made at halftime with their defensive approach, found themselves unable to do much of anything on offense.
"Early in [the game]," Rice coach David Bailiff said, "they were giving us lots of blitz checks they were able to take advantage of. They really calmed down defensively [in the second half] and instead of being so aggressive, wanted to make us earn some things."
And the Owls weren't able to earn those things.
Houston Cougars fans probably found the game to be of more interest than the near nonexistent crowd at Rice Stadium as the Cougars will be facing UCLA in three weeks. The Bruins came into this game with a new head coach, Jim Mora Jr., a new coaching staff and a new quarterback, redshirt freshman Brett Hundley.
And on Hundley's first play from scrimmage, he went on what should have been a short rush for a gain. But the Rice defense didn't make the plays, and Hundley ended up scampering 72 yards for the touchdown. He also threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns.
"I thought he did nice at times," Mora said of Hundley. "Then, there were some times when he was a little hesitant."