Rivalry games are supposed to be nip and tuck, closely contested battles where records don't matter and games go right down to the wire. Neither team got that memo Saturday as Houston jumped out to a 28-0 nothing lead then cruised past Rice 35-14 in their final Bayou Bucket game.
Even the most diehard Owl fan would have had a hard time seeing that Bucket half full Saturday, as the Owls made mistakes in all facets of the game. Dropped passes, missed tackles, blown coverages, missed blocking assignments.
The Cougars had two weeks to prepare for this game - and apparently made good use of it, as they won their first game of the 2012 season in decisive fashion. Meanwhile Rice falls to 1-4.
Positives were few for Rice, but here's a handful - along with some of the specifics on the negatives.
- Though the stat line shows he only completed 49% of his passes (that number was marred by numerous drops), red-shirt freshman Quarterback Driphus Jackson showed a great upside with his play Saturday. He also got his name in the Owl record book with the longest pass play in Rice history when he hooked up with Sam McGuffie for an 88 yard touchdown in the 4th quarter. Though Jackson was harassed all day, and sacked 5 times, he didn't blame the Rice OL afterwards. "I think the O-Line did a great job of protecting this week. People are going to say that they didn't. I just didn't do enough to take some hits off myself."
- Sam McGuffie scored both Owl touchdowns; grabbing a 24 yard score in the 3rd quarter before adding another with his record setting burst in the 4th quarter. Sam had 6 catches for 119 yards to lead the team in receiving for the second straight game.
- Junior Cornerback Phillip Gaines had 4 passes broken up. He leads the nation with 12; four are tied with 11.
- Rice managed only 69 yards rushing against a Houston unit that ranked 113th in the NCAA against the run.
- The Owls gave up 608 yards of Offense - pushing them to last in the country in Total Defense. Houston averaged 7.0 yards per offensive play.
- After registering 4 sacks against Marshall, the Owls didn't sack UH Quarterback David Piland once.
- Rice was forced to punt 10 times - and managed only 17 first downs. They were 5-of-16 on 3rd down conversions.
- The Owls were tackled for a loss 10 times against the Cougars.
- Having failed to stop the run against any opponent this season, the Owls continued that trend against Houston giving up 247 yards on the ground.
Owl Sports Watch