Football hopes to learn from loss
Any time anyone mentions University of Kansas football this year, there is only one name that really gets mentioned - new Head Coach Charlie Weis - in his first head coaching job since the debacle at Notre Dame University.
For a man who has Super Bowl rings, Lawrence may seem like an odd place to end up, but few doubt Weis's ability to create explosive offenses.
That ability to build an offense is just what the Jayhawks need after a miserable 2011 season, going 2-10 and losing every single game inside the Big 12.
Despite one of the most difficult schedules of any team in the nation, that record did not cut it at Kansas, an athletic program with a tradition of winning.
Coming off a streaky performance against the University of California, Los Angeles, the previous week, expect the Owls to understand the stakes in this game against an automatic BCS-qualifying opponent.
If this team is going to be in competition for a bowl game in the latter half of this season, they have to win some of these non-conference games. Much like the Purdue University primetime game last season, this is the Owls' chance to defeat a reputable opponent.
"We're gonna take this video, we're gonna learn from it, and we're gonna get better. And we're gonna get to Kansas and play a heck of a football game," Head Coach David Bailiff said.
"I thought Kansas looked extremely solid against South Dakota State University. They created five takeaways defensively. They were very solid offensively. It'll be a challenge - but we're looking forward to getting on the road and getting to play."
Rice started out terribly the previous week, with seemingly everything going wrong to start against UCLA. However, led by the strong firsthalf performance of junior quarterback Taylor McHargue, Rice managed to claw its way back into the game, going into the locker room only down 11.
UCLA shut down the Owls offensively in the second half, eventually winning the game 49-24. On the bright side was the play of junior linebacker Cameron Nwosu, who blocked three extra point attempts and tied a Football Bowl Subdivision record. He was later named Conference-USA Special Teams player of the week.
"As an offense, I think we've just got to keep going, be a little bit more aggressive at the beginning," senior tight end and punter Taylor Cook said. "I think this week you'll see a few changes and see our aggressiveness as we step up and get after Kansas."
The previous week against South Dakota State, Kansas performed well - especially on the ground - racking up 263 total rushing yards. Tony Pierson, their sophomore running back, racked up 124 of these yards with two touchdowns. The defensive backfield for Kansas had a big game, picking off four passes and holding South Dakota State to 207 yards.
Rice's key to the game will be not allowing the bigger Kansas team to physically push them around and opening up holes for the Rice running game to continue to develop.
If Rice plays up to its potential, this could be a real opportunity for the team to build some confidence in a part of the season with which they have historically struggled.