Rice Football 2013 Bowl Capsule

Rice Owls
Conference USA
For the first time in 56 years, Rice won a conference championship.  The Owls finished 10-3 on the season and defeated Marshall 41-24 to win Conference USA.  Rice beat Big 12 member Kansas and fell to Texas A&M and Johnny Manziel in the opening week, keeping the game close for a half.  This will be Rice’s 4th bowl in the past eight seasons after not making one since 1954. 
2013 Record: 10-3, 7-1
Coach: David Bailiff
Coach Bowl Record: 2-0
Big Wins: 11/30 Tulane (17-13), 12/7 Marshall (41-24)
Bad Losses: 9/21 vs Houston (26-31), 10/31 at North Texas (16-28)
Rice is a team that is going to grind it out on the ground.  As a result, they found themselves ranked 7th in the country in time of possession, controlling the ball for an average of 33:24 minutes per game.  A pair of seniors, RB Charles Ross and QB Taylor McHargue, led the powerful rushing attack.  Ross ran for 1,252 yards and 14 touchdowns, while McHargue added 466 yards and five scores.  Two freshmen, Jowan Davis and Darik Dillard, added 455 and 396 yards respectively.  Dillard is the younger brother of former Rice All-American wide receiver Jarrett Dillard.  This crew helped Rice gain over 240 yards per game on the ground, putting them in the top 20 nationally.  They excelled when they got the ball inside the red zone, coming up with points 90 percent of the time.  The Owls were also very good on defense this season, especially in the passing department.  Rice was in the top 25 nationally in 3rd down conversion percentage defense, first downs allowed, fumbles recovered, passing yards allowed, passing efficiency defense, and total defense.  Seniors Michael Kutzler and Paul Porras led the Owls with 86 and 76 tackles respectively.  Phillip Gaines and Bryce Callahan were lockdown corners for the Owls this season.  Gaines picked off four passes and had 11 pass deflections, while Callahan picked off three passes, had 10 pass breakups, and 13 pass deflections.  With the talented secondary, teams struggled to throw the ball.
Passing offense was an area that Rice struggled with this season.  The Owls were only able to throw for 185.5 yards a game and allowed 2.54 sacks per game, both in the bottom third in the country.  Their completion percentage was one of the worst in the country.  Rice completed only 51 percent of their passes.  When Rice did have success through the air, it came in big chunks.  The Owls averaged almost 15 yards per completion, tops in the conference.  A lot of those balls went to WR Jordan Taylor.  The 6-5 junior caught 54 passes for 846 yards and eight touchdowns.  He averaged nearly 15 yards per catch.  Taylor burst onto the scene in the opening week of the season against A&M, where he found himself on Sports Center’s Top Ten for his acrobatic catch. 
Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Charles Ross, RB, 1,252 yards
Passing: Taylor McHargue, QB, 2,266 yards
Receiving: Jordan Taylor, WR, 846 yards
Tackles: Michael Kutzler, LB, 86
Sacks: Cody Bauer, DE, 4.5
Interceptions: Phillip Gaines, CB, 4
2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 239.5 (17th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 181.0 (102, 10)
Total Offense: 420.5 (61, 3)
Scoring Offense: 30.6 (58, 5)
Rushing Defense: 159.5 (57, 5)
Pass Defense: 189.9 (12, 2)
Total Defense: 349.4 (19, 2)
Scoring Defense: 22.8 (35, 5)
Turnover Margin: 0.5 (28, 4)
Sacks: 1.33 (105, 10)
Sacks Allowed: 2.75 (103, 11)
Recent Bowl Appearances:
2008    Texas Bowl                 Western Michigan (38-14)
2006    New Orleans Bowl     Troy (17-41)
1961    Bluebonnet Bowl        Kansas (7-33)
1960    Sugar Bowl                 Mississippi (6-14)
1957    Cotton Bowl               Navy (7-20)
*all team stats through 11/30