Rice earned their bowl eligibility with a win over Texas El Paso two weeks ago. The 6-3 Owls have taken 3 losses with only the UTEP loss in conference. Losses to Texas A&M and cross town rival Houston give Rice a 6 win season and a 4-1 Conference USA record. Rice is bowl eligible for the 3rd time under the reigns of coach David Bailiff. Last year, Rice won the Armed Services Bowl.
Coming to Houston this weekend to challenge the Rice Owls are the hungry Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. Tech is looking for a couple more wins. With a 5-4 record, they need wins from two out of the final three games to get to Bowl play. They have San Antonio and Tulsa to finish the season after Rice. San Antonio is looking for Bowl eligibility too, while Tulsa is regulated to a spoiler role. Conference USA sends 7 teams to the post season and it’s the sixth pick that plays in the R+L Carriers Bowl. Final season rankings don’t necessarily predict bowl picks.Tech needs to close out their season with three straight wins and get help from fellow conference teams.
Rice wouldn’t mind correcting the loss they suffered in the dome in 2006 to Troy University. If Rice loses out to Tulane for the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, they will likely find themselves in the Heart of Dallas Bowl taking on the Big 10 Northwestern or Indiana.
Who to Watch Saturday
Rice has a dynamic duo with Senior Running Back Charles Ross and Junior Wide Receiver Jordan Taylor. These two young men are responsible for a third of all touchdowns this season. RB Ross has carried for 6 touchdowns and WR Taylor has caught 6 more for the Rice Owls. Both have combined for over 1,400 yards total offense. This is 40 percent of the team’s total offense.
The Bulldogs are coming ready for a fight as well. The Bulldogs have not been able to find much success in the air. QB Ryan Higgins has passed for over 1,300 yards and that love has been spread out over 7 receivers, with Andrew Guillot as the only one grabbing over 300 yards. Higgins under center is also the team’s second busiest rusher. He has scrambled forward 53 times this season and only averaged a couple a feet per carry. He has found the end zone on the run 3 times, second only to Kenneth Dixon. The Sophomore Running Back has carried for 905 yards this season and 4 touchdowns.
The series between these two schools is tied 3 – 3. It is one of those 6 games gaining a particularly high amount of media attention this week. Phil Robertson, the patriarch of Louisiana’s Duck Dynasty, was the starting QB for Tech in 1965. He played his first game against Rice University. The year was 1965 and Mr. Robertson completed 3 for 5 passes, amassing 37 yards for Tech. Rice won that game 14-0. It was in 1967 when Phil walked away from football that the lesser known Terry Bradshaw began to lead the Bulldogs. Here’s a clip with Mr. Robertson talking football.
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