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At first thought, a punter might not seem too important to a football team’s success. But quietly, the punter does a lot of work that may go unnoticed. Pinning the ball inside the opposing team’s 10-yard line, bombing a 60-yard punt to escape poor field position or punting the ball away from a dangerous return man can all be difference-makers in a game. Not many punters are the star of their team. However, this past season, punter Jack Fox was the star of Rice football. Now he has the National Football League in his sights.
This upcoming Sunday marks one of America’s most anticipated events of the year: the Super Bowl. The NFL’s two conference champions face off as the AFC champion New England Patriots take on the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII. According to Nielsen Media Research, which measures television viewership, the Super Bowl has been watched by more than 100 million people each year since 2010.
The Rice women’s basketball team extended its win streak to six games on Saturday when it defeated the University of Texas, El Paso by a score of 76-42. Coming off of a dominating performance against the University of Texas, San Antonio, the Owls dismantled UTEP in similar fashion. Rice led by double digits for the vast majority of the game. Head coach Tina Langley praised her team’s performance.
Over Rice’s lengthy winter break, the men’s basketball team played seven games, winning four and losing three.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. This phrase describes Rice basketball so far this season. The Owls have the same record this season as last season through seven games: three wins and four losses.
Rice men’s basketball bounced back from its first loss of the season by defeating Alabama A&M University on Monday by a score of 73-59. Head coach Scott Pera said that he was happy with the team’s performance in the game’s final minutes.
“I'm really, really proud of how we finished that game,” Pera said. “This team is showing signs, now through the exhibition season and playing a couple of live games that they're handling things better with a lead down the stretch.”
In a game where the pace kept by both teams was extremely quick, Rice men’s basketball opened its season with a win over Saint Leo University by a score of 80-64. Owls head coach Scott Pera said he was happy with his team’s effort.
The men’s basketball season is fast-approaching, and the team will aim to improve upon last campaign’s win total of just seven. Scott Pera is back at the helm in his second season as head coach of the Owls. Pera says he hopes to see steady growth as the season goes on.
The women’s basketball team has seen steady improvement over the past two seasons, to say the least. In 2016-17, the Owls won the Women’s Basketball Invitational, and last season they took it a step further by qualifying for the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. This year, the aspirations for this team are even higher; Rice is picked second (including five first place votes) in the Conference USA Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Tina Langley returns for her fourth season in charge as the Owls’ head coach.
Rice Fight Never Dies. It’s a phrase that has roots dating back to the 1920s. While the phrase has been used sporadically over the last century, it has recently become one of Rice Athletics’ main marketing slogans.
In its first game this season against a Power Five-conference opponent, Rice’s football team struggled to get into the game, losing to Wake Forest University 56-24. The Owls came into the contest having lost their last three games, most recently against conference rival University of Southern Mississippi. The game against Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, North Carolina was the third road matchup in a row for Rice.
Rice basketball has picked up a total of eight verbal commitments recently, with five on the women’s side and three on the men’s side. The commitments from these players come roughly two months before the first date they can officially sign.
For Rice’s 11 residential colleges, a new freshman flag football season means hope is renewed for a championship run.
In a game in which Rice was a 26 point underdog, the Owls led deep into the third quarter of the Bayou Bucket, in the end falling to the University of Houston by a score of 45-27.
In his opening statement to reporters after Rice’s 31-28 victory over Prairie View A&M University, head football coach Mike Bloomgren let out a sigh of relief. It wasn’t a blowout, but Bloomgren began his head coaching career with a victory in a wild back-and-forth affair thanks to a last-second game winning field goal by senior kicker Jack Fox.
Rice’s reigning Conference USA-champion soccer team suffered a tough loss on Friday night against in-state rival University of Texas, Austin. The stands were packed at Holloway Field as the end of Orientation Week brought in many new students to watch the Owls in their season opener. The visiting Longhorns were set to be a stern test for the Owls, opening the season as the No. 17-ranked team in the country. Rice, meanwhile, was not at full strength for the game, with regular starters senior Dominique Mazero and junior Louise Stephens out with injuries.
Two of the men’s basketball team’s top contributors, Connor Cashaw and Najja Hunter, confirmed this week that they will transfer out of Rice, bringing the total number of departing players after this season to six. Cashaw, who was a junior last season, will graduate early and transfer to Creighton University as first reported by Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports and later confirmed by the Thresher. The Thresher received confirmation from rising sophomore Najja Hunter of his decision to transfer, although he said he has not yet decided which school he will attend next year. Hunter’s departure means all three of the freshmen from last season’s team will not return.
For the second consecutive season, multiple men’s basketball players will transfer from Rice. Freshmen Malik Osborne and Miles Lester announced on Twitter that they received their releases, while sophomore Austin Meyer confirmed to the Thresher that he too intends to depart.
This week will mark the beginning of a new era for Rice football: Head coach Mike Bloomgren will lead his first practice as a collegiate head coach on Thursday when the football team begins its spring practices. The opening practice was originally scheduled to occur on March 5 but was delayed until after spring break due to the passing of junior defensive end Blain Padgett.