Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Tuesday, September 27, 2022 — Houston, TX

Football finishes season with a win

football-courtsy-naria-lysander
Photo courtesy of Naria Lysander

By Joshua Anil     11/28/18 11:24am

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Rice football team finally found something to be thankful for. During the final game of head coach Mike Bloomgren’s inaugural season, the Owls defeated Old Dominion University 27-13, raising Rice’s record to 2-11 and giving Rice its first win against an FBS program this year. 

The Owls’ only other win this season came in their first game, a 31-28 victory over Prairie View A&M University, an FCS football program. After that initial victory, the Owls proceeded to lose their next 11 games by an average of 21.7 points, with their largest defeat coming in a 42-0 shutout against the University of Alabama,Birmingham. But on Saturday, the Owls broke their losing streak, riding 275 rushing yards and three defensive takeaways to a win against a conference opponent in the Monarchs. The Owls’ running game was sparked by young blood, as freshman running back Juma Otoviano rushed for 224 yards along with two long touchdown runs of 80 and 62 yards in his starting debut. According to Otaoviano, much of his success was due to the strong performance of Owls’ blockers.

“Credit to my [offensive] linemen and everybody that was blocking for me, from them to the skill positions,” Otoviano said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them, and they made some creases and I was able to get through them.”



The team sported several true freshmen on Saturday, with Wiley Green getting his third start at quarterback to go with Otoviano’s start at running back. Green suffered an injury while rushing for a first down in the third quarter, and graduate transfer quarterback Shawn Stankavage came in to finish out the Owls’ win. All in all, Rice started seven true freshmen in the regular season finale: three on offense and four on defense.

On the opposite side of the ball, Old Dominion came into the matchup averaging 32 points per game, but Rice’s defense held the Monarchs to just 13 points on the day, recording two interceptions and one fumble recovery in its defensive effort.

Bloomgren said that although this season has been a struggle, he believes the team is on the right track."It's been a battle to change the culture and the mindset, but we are totally committed to our process - doing things the right way that we know will win football games,” Bloomgren said. “To get everyone over the hump to winning games, it's just a matter of doing it and keep working hard until we do it."

According to Bloomgren, finishing the season on a positive note meant a lot to both the players and the program.

“It’s a very good day for this program for so many reasons,” Bloomgren said. “Sending the seniors out in a victorious locker room, the way we wanted to…For recruiting, it’s going to be a great boost, because the reality is that today we had a bunch of seniors play their last game and played really well, and they kind of passed the torch. Cause you had seniors, and then you had a bunch of young guys making a ton of plays on that field today. And that’s a lot of fun.”

With the season over, and Rice not eligible for postseason football, the coaching staff will hit the recruiting trail in an effort to bolster the Owls roster. Football will return next fall, when the Owls open their 2019 campaign at Army University, on Friday Aug. 30. 



More from The Rice Thresher

SPORTS 9/21/22 12:23am
50 years later, Rice’s first Black student-athletes reflect on their impact

Stahlé Vincent came back to Rice over the weekend. But this time, he got a different reception than he did when he first set foot on campus over five decades ago. “[When I first got here] there was not an open-arm reception,” Vincient said. “There were people who never spoke [to me], people avoided me, I had professors who wouldn’t call my name at roll. There was an animus there that you could feel.”

SPORTS 9/21/22 12:20am
After 350 wins, Volpe still isn’t thinking about her legacy

During her 19-year tenure, Rice volleyball head coach Genny Volpe has led the Owls to seven NCAA tournaments, two conference championships, 14 winning seasons and, as of Aug. 26’s victory over the University of Houston, 350 wins. With the Owls back in the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s top 25 as of Monday, those numbers seem poised to keep improving. This is a flooring amount of success for a program that had never even been to the tournament until Volpe was hired, but she is far from willing to take sole credit. 

SPORTS 9/21/22 12:17am
Volleyball upsets No. 17 Creighton, jumps into top-25

On Sunday, a flock of birds rose victorious above Tudor fieldhouse and it wasn’t a band of blue jays. After five intense sets, the Owls team took down No. 17 Creighton University on a second match point, capping off a tournament which started off with a reverse sweep of Big 12 opponent Kansas State University. After missing out on the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s Top 25 last week by one spot, the defining weekend was enough to jump the Rice volleyball team to No. 23 on the rankings. 


Comments

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