Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Friday, September 30, 2022 — Houston, TX

The Season in Review

By Teddy Grodek     5/22/12 7:00pm

Football

2011 was not supposed to be a rebuilding year. It was supposed to be the year that Head Coach David Bailiff's team excelled, building on the successful end to the 2010 season. It was supposed to be the year that the Owls clicked on both sides of the ball - and that just never happened.

The season opened up in Austin, with the Owls taking on the Texas Longhorns, historically one of the best programs in Texas. They Owls looked strong in the first half, driving at one point only down by a touchdown, with quarterback Taylor McHargue passing crisply and finding the open receivers against the speedy Longhorn defense.



Unfortunately, the Owls slowly unraveled in the closing minutes of the third quarter. The first half was perhaps the best the team played all season, giving hope to Owls fans everywhere. Texas went on to win the game 34-9; a far cry from what was actually seen on the field.

The next week, the Owls welcomed the Big Ten's Purdue Boilermakers to Houston. Rice, which had not beat a BCS Conference team in years, knew this was an opportunity to make a statement.

They played the Boilermakers strong, winning the game off of a dramatic last minute punt block. Justin Allen (Sid Rich '12) got past the Boilermaker defense on the last snap of the game, sticking his hand up and sealing a 24-22 victory for the Owls that was in doubt seconds before.

Rice then headed to Waco to take on Baylor and eventual Heisman trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Griffin played like a Heisman winner, throwing for five touchdowns and running for one more. He was too much to contain, as Rice lost 56-31, falling to 1-2.

The next week, the Owls opened up conference play, falling to Southern Miss 48-24.

Returning home the following week, against a bad University of Memphis team, was just what the Owls needed, with Rice winning 28-6 led by running back Tyler Smith's (Baker '12) 102 rushing yards.

After the Memphis game, Rice still had bowl hopes. With two wins, and the seemingly difficult

part of their schedule out of the way, Rice thought that bowl eligibility was still in reach.

The next three games, however, were disasters for the Owls, who lost control of their season. After a tough 24-20 loss to Marshall on the road, the Owls returned home to lose 38-20 to Tulsa, a blow for a team that needed the game.

The next week, in a nationally televised night game, the Owls laid a defensive egg against Houston, letting fifth year quarterback Case Keenum throw for nine touchdowns and over 500 yards. The 73-point Cougar total was a low point for the Owls, putting them at 2-6 for the season.

Relief came the following week, with Rice hosting UTEP in Houston. It was a back and forth game, and both teams struggled for momentum. A pass from quarterback Nick Fanuzzi (Will Rice '12) with less than three minutes left sealed the deal for the Owls, who had their third victory.

In the final three weeks, the Owls were playing for pride, as seniors hoped to leave a legacy off which next year's team could build. They hosted the Northwestern Wildcats, another Big Ten team, but could not find the Purdue magic, falling 28-6.

On Senior Day, the last home game of the season, Rice hosted Tulane, holding the Green Wave to only 7 points. It was by far the best effort for the defense which had struggled since the first half of the Texas game. The 19 points the Owls scored was enough for their fourth victory of the season.

A 27-24 loss to SMU the last week left the Owls at 4-8, a disappointing end to the season.

Kyle Martens (Martel '12), the punter who was the constant of the Owls this season and was named an All-C-USA selection, signed this month with the San Diego Chargers. Scott Solomon (Sid Rich '12), the constant on the Owls line, was selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans.

The Owls have plenty of question marks heading into the 2012 season. With a looming quarterback controversy, and a variety of questions surrounding the poor defensive play from the previous season, 2012 will begin with the Owls having a lot to prove.

Basketball

After years of highly-touted recruiting classes brought in by Coach Braun, the 2011-2012 Rice men's basketball team rode a successful combination of veteran leadership and young talent to their first postseason berth since 2005.

The Owls got off to a strong start in non-conference play, winning nine of their first 13 games of the season, including a seven-point win in College Station to bring an end to Texas A&M's historic 67-game home nonconference win streak.

After going 9-6 outside the conference, Rice went 8-8 in one of the more competitive C-USA regular seasons in recent memory, one which saw the Owls have eight games decided by four points or less.

Among the most notable games for the Owls on the season was a 50-49 win at Tulane, on January 14 when Connor Frizzelle (Wiess '12) hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to propel Rice to the victory. Frizzelle and juniors Arsalan Kazemi and Tamir Jackson, became the 29th, 30th and 31st members of the 1000 point club in Owls' men's basketball history during the season, a testament to the value of the team's proven upperclassmen.

Kazemi, who averaged more than 12 points and 10 rebounds a game, became the conference's all-time leader in career double-doubles on the season, en route to earning All-C-USA Second Team Honors.

The team also received consistent contributions from an outstanding freshman class, led by Dylan Ennis, Ahmad Ibrahim and Jarelle Reischel, who combined for 21 points and 48 minutes a game.Also pivotal to the success of the team was the development of center Omar Oraby, who set the school record for blocks in a season, and the play of Lucas Kuipers (Hanszen '12), Emerson Herndon (Hanszen '12) and Nate Schwarze (Sid Rich '12).

After finishing at 17-15 following the conference tournament, the Owls accepted a bid to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, their first postseason action in 7 years. Rice drew a matchup with Louisiana-Lafayette in the first round, a game they won 68-63 on 18 points from Frizzelle. Rice then overcame a halftime deficit to beat Drake 74-68, led by 38 total points from the freshman trio. The win marked the first season with multiple postseason victories for Rice and earning them a game in the CIT quarterfinals with high-scoring Oakland, a game they lost 77-70, ending their season with a record of 19-16.

In spite of what was a successful season for the men's basketball program, the postseason headlines were marred by the departure of multiple members of what was an extremely productive 2011-12 freshman class.

C-USA All-Freshman guard Dylan Ennis announced his decision to transfer to play at Villanova, and Reischel elected to continue his college basketball career at Rhode Island.

Ennis and Reischel, from Canada and New Jersey respectively, each cited a desire to play closer to home as factors in their decisions to leave Rice. After sophomore David Chadwick also transferred, the program took yet another hit when Ibrahim announced his decision to pursue a professional career in his native country of Lebanon.

These departures, while a blow to the 2012-2013 team, should not override what looks to be yet another talented recruiting class for Coach Braun. California guards Max Guercy and Austin Ramljak provide depth to the backcourt, joining Philly native Keith Washington to form a trio that will compete for playing time as freshmen.

The class also includes commits from Nizar Kapic (Austria) and Ross Wilson (England), a pair of athletic wings that bring an international pedigree that has become commonplace with Coach Braun's recruiting classes.

With program pillars Kazemi and Jackson back for their senior years, along with the incoming class and the continued development of Oraby and freshmen Seth Gearhart and Julian DeBose, the 2012-13 men's team has a good chance to compete for another postseason berth while continuing the upward trend of success that Ben Braun has brought to Rice over the past few years.



More from The Rice Thresher

A&E 9/27/22 11:56pm
Review: ‘Do Revenge’ does right by beloved teen classics

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 film, “Strangers on a Train,” sees two strangers who team up to enact the perfect murder, swapping their victims so they could never be linked to the crime. Of course, the concept of a perfect murder is a compelling pillar of the psychological thriller genre — but what about a perfect revenge?

A&E 9/27/22 11:55pm
Review: Djo creates a dreamy, psychedelic journey with ‘DECIDE’

On “DECIDE,” actor and musician Joe Keery expands his solo project Djo’s sound to ambitious new places. Although many people primarily know Keery through the show “Stranger Things,” where he plays Steve Harrington, he’s been involved in music for years and is a former member of Chicago psych rock band Post Animal. “DECIDE” is his sophomore album, a follow up to 2019’s impeccable “Twenty Twenty.”

A&E 9/27/22 11:54pm
Review: ‘Industry’ takes the leap with a poignant second season

The finale of “Industry’s” stellar second season features a relatively cliché sports metaphor, so it’s only fitting to start this review with one of my own. There are a few universally satisfying moments in sports: the underdog who beats an obnoxious powerhouse, the aging star who has more left in the tank than we thought or the young talent who puts it all together and goes from promising to a superstar. This season, “Industry” took that leap. 


Comments

Please note All comments are eligible for publication by The Rice Thresher.