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Thursday, May 26, 2022 — Houston, TX


SPORTS 11/10/15 3:24pm

Men’s hoops dominates in exhibition

Scoring their most points since 2011, the Rice University men’s basketball team handily defeated LeTourneau University to cruise to a 102-78 preseason win. Rice had five players score in double figures, with freshman guard Marcus Evans leading the way with a game-high 24 points on nine-of-11 shooting. Evans also notched five rebounds and four assists. Sophomore swingman Egor Koulechov recorded a double-double, with 23 points and 10 boards, and freshman guard Connor Cashaw contributed 17 points. Sophomore guard Bishop Mency and freshman forward Marquez Letcher-Ellis each posted 11 points.LeTourneau was led by sophomore sharpshooter Alex Colhoff, who scored 23 points, which included seven 3-pointers, and pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double. He was complemented by senior guard CJ Edwards, who had 16 points, and junior guard Jeff Martin, who had 11 points. From a statistical perspective, the Owls played efficiently, scoring 57.4 percent (35 of 61) of their field goals and 40.0 percent (10 of 25) from 3-point territory. The Yellow Jackets shot only 39 percent (28 of 71) from the field but scored a high 51.5 percent (17 of 33) from three. Rice also led LeTourneau in rebounds 45 to 30. According to Rice Head Coach Mike Rhoades, the team enjoyed finally playing a real game.“It was great to get out there and play somebody else, for the coaches as well as the players,” Rhoades said. “When you go as long as we did, from the first of October, you just want to play somebody else. Of course, when the bleachers are pulled out and the stands are full, it’s always fun.”The Owls took the lead early and never trailed throughout the game. Rice began with 13 straight points, holding LeTourneau scoreless until the fifth minute when Colhoff hit a three to give the Yellow Jackets their first points of the game. Rice then pushed to a 21-6 lead, but LeTourneau went for a 6-2 run to close the gap to 23-14. The Owls returned the favor with a 16-2 run for a convincing 39-16 lead and finished the half 53-27.After trading baskets in the first three minutes of the second half, Rice pushed ahead with a 7-0 run and never looked back. Although LeTourneau outscored Rice 51-49 in the second half, Rice led by as many as 32 and finished with a 102-78 victory. Rice now turns to their season opener against No. 14 University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, CA on Friday, Nov. 13 at 10:30 p.m.

SPORTS 11/10/15 3:23pm

Soccer bids farewell to senior class

Many, if not all of us, recognize the famous saying, “All good things must come to an end.” It appears that this also is true for the Rice Owls soccer team who bid farewell to a group of five talented seniors. With a loss in the opening round of the Conference USA tournament this past Wednesday in Miami, FL, the 2015 campaign concluded with a 10-7-2 record. The senior class brought home two C-USA championships during their time at Rice and depart holding numerous team records and individual school records.Entering as the No. 4 seed of the tournament, Rice played the No. 5 seed, Middle Tennessee State University, a team in which they battled to a 0-0 double overtime draw earlier in the season. The game shaped out be very similar to the first in that Rice held the clear advantage in shots with 21-10 but could not find the back of the net. In the 78th minute of the match, Middle Tennessee forward Grace Summers hit the top right corner of the goal from just outside the 18-yard box to give the Blue Riders 1-0 lead. The C-USA defensive player of the season and goalkeeper Kelsey Brouwer proved why she was selected when she registered nine saves on the day. The Owls continued to fight getting off five shots in the final 11 minutes but never found the equalizer. Middle Tennessee was eliminated in the semifinal round of the tournament by the No. 2 seed Marshall University two days later. Regular season champions, the University of North Texas went on to defeat Marshall in the championship game of the tournament on Sunday to take home the 2015 trophy. The season for the Owls was one of ups and downs for the preseason Conference USA favorites. The club was coming off a 14-win season in which Head Coach Nicky Adams was named C-USA Coach of the Year while senior forward Lauren Hughes was awarded Offensive Player of the Year honors. The club also welcomed six freshmen and one transfer who all made impacts in one way or another this season. The Owls soared to a hot start to the season, opening with a 4-1-1 record through their first six games. Over that span, Rice’s only loss came at the hands of No. 5 nationally ranked Texas A&M University. After one stretch in September saw the Owls lose three games out of four, Rice fell to a 5-4-1 record. The month of October was much better for Rice as they rattled off four wins in their next five games to improve the record to 9-5-1. However, Hughes was a consistent piece all season for the Owls, playing up to her preseason expectation earning 2015 Co-Offensive Player of the Year. Hughes led the team and the entire conference with ten assists on the season and also scored ten goals on the season, five of which were game winners. She is just the third player in Rice school history to be tabbed First-Team All-Conference three times in her career. She is ending her career holding school records in goals (39), assists (28) and points (106), among numerous other accolades.Senior forward Holly Hargreaves, a four-year starter for the Owls, set a magnificent record earlier in her career by starting every single game of her Rice career from freshman year through junior year, a streak of 60 matches. Hargreaves is finishing second in school history in goals with 32, trailing only behind Hughes in the record books. She has tallied 5,993 minutes as an Owl and also holds the school record for goals scored in one game, with four goals last season against Louisiana Tech University. Yet another star player for the Owls, senior midfielder Danielle Spriggs, has started 52 of her last 54 games for the Rice Owls from the outside midfielder position. Known for her hard style of play and lengthy runs, Spriggs was crucial throughout her Rice career in setting up Hughes and Hargreaves up top with good looks on goal. Spriggs registered three goals and four assists this season. The Owls squad earned a total of six conference awards for their efforts. Hughes was named First-Team All-Conference for a third straight season. Sophomore midfielder Samantha Chaiken and senior defender Jasmine Isokpunwu earned All-Conference Second Team honors. Hargreaves and junior defender Jenny Fichera both earned All-Conference Third Team honors. Freshman midfielder Dominique Mazero was named to the all-freshman squad. Head Coach Nicky Adams talked about the season in general as well as highlighted some of the greatest moments of the season. “Overall this has been a very positive season,” Adams said. “In 2014 we lost some key players in key positions and I am proud of how some our players stepped up in some new roles. This season started off with a bang being able to host the No. 3 team in the country at the time, Texas A&M. We [also] scored some unbelievable goals this year: a diving header vs. Arkansas by [Walker] and a tying goal vs. FAU with five seconds left on the clock by [Isokpunwu], just to name a few. Adams had many positive things to say about her senior class and will remember them for being such great ambassadors for Rice University. “This senior class will always be extremely special to me [because] this is the first class we recruited when I became the head coach,” Adams said. “All of these players have provided us with some of the most unbelievable moments on the field, but every single one of these young ladies have [also] been an amazing ambassador for Rice University. I am sure we will see a few of these players in the Rice Hall of Fame in the future.”Adams and her coaching staff are already focused towards next season and bringing home a conference title in 2016. “We do have quite a few younger players for 2016, but they all gained such valuable experience this fall,” Adams said. “The coaching staff is extremely excited to work this spring with this team [because] we have some amazing talent. We are looking forward to really pushing them and testing them this upcoming spring season to be the best they can be.” Team captain Danielle Spriggs believes strongly in the rise of the Rice Owls program moving forward long after her graduation.  “I am really excited for the future of this program,” Spriggs said. “I know the program has all the tools that they need to succeed, with great coaches, players and with the facilities coming along. I see conference championships becoming an annual thing for this program and [deep] NCAA runs [to match].”

SPORTS 11/10/15 3:23pm

National Player of the Week finds new home at Rice

According to the American Volleyball Coaches Association, there was no better volleyball player in the country last week than Rice sophomore setter Madison McDaniel. McDaniel was named the Sports Imports/AVCA Division I National Player of the Week for her performances in wins over conference rivals No. 22 Western Kentucky University and the University of Southern Mississippi last week. In the two wins, she posted a combined 109 assists and 27 digs in eight total sets. Although McDaniel thought she played well this week, she said she was surprised by the award.“I was so excited,” McDaniel said. “I actually didn’t really know until I got tagged in a Twitter post then got a call from my old club coach, and he told me how huge of a deal it was.”The award was a culmination of a long journey — a journey that led her less than an hour’s drive from her home. McDaniel hails from The Woodlands, TX, just under 40 miles from Rice. According to McDaniel, her father first pushed her to play volleyball, but her older sister Morgan first inspired her to commit to the sport. “[My sister] was trying out and of course I wanted to be like her,” McDaniel said. “So when I was in fourth grade I started playing on my first club team.”McDaniel continued playing on club and school teams while honing her skills throughout middle school and high school in The Woodlands. According to McDaniel, it was easy for her to fall in love with volleyball. “My favorite part about volleyball is that there is constant action on the court,” McDaniel said. “You see the ball and you instantly react, and you’re always needed for something.”While attending high school, McDaniel was honored as an AVCA Phenom in 2012 and was named to the high school All-Texas Second Team in 2013 and 2014. After high school, McDaniel chose to attend Arizona State University. She appeared in 25 sets as a freshman, accumulating 23 kills, 14 kills and 12 blocks. After her freshman year, however, she chose to transfer to Rice, a decision she said was easy after meeting with the team. “Of course when I visited I fell in love with the coaches and the players,” McDaniel said. “I have never played with a group of girls who are so nice and supportive of one another.”Since coming to Rice, McDaniel has accumulated 49 kills, 892 assists, 266 digs and 44 blocks. She has been named Conference USA setter of the week five times. While McDaniel is honored to receive the individual award, she remains focused on team-oriented goals. Currently, the Owls are 19-9 with a 9-5 record in Conference USA. They have two games remaining before the conference tournament begins on Nov. 20 in San Antonio. According to McDaniel, the team is hoping for much more success. “We have so much talent in all areas of the court and we are always composed in tough situations,” McDaniel said. “I really think this will help push us to hopefully finish out the season by winning the conference championship.”The Owls’ next game is Thursday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. in Tudor Fieldhouse against the University of Texas, El Paso. Rice volleyball will be celebrating Senior Night to honor graduating seniors Kyley Reed, Kimberly Vaio and Noelle Whitlock. The Owls will then have one final road match against the University of Alabama, Birmingham to conclude the regular season. 

SPORTS 11/10/15 3:22pm

Late field goal gives UTEP win over Rice

Despite 116 receiving yards from redshirt junior wide receiver Zach Wright, the Rice University football team was unable to come up with what would have been a huge victory over the University of Texas, El Paso. Rice lost the contest 24-21 on a last-minute field goal from UTEP junior kicker Jay Mattox.After a scoreless first quarter in which neither offense was able to sustain any rhythm, both teams got rolling in the second quarter, as the Owls struck first on a three-yard touchdown run by senior halfback Luke Turner. Rice, however, was unable to keep the lead. The defense’s propensity to give up big plays at times again surfaced, as UTEP sophomore quarterback Mack Leftwich connected with junior wide receiver Jaquan White on a 58-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at seven.For the remainder of the game, the teams engaged in a back-and-forth affair in which neither team was able to take full control, leading to another nail-biting fourth quarter for the Owls. While the Owls were able to pull out close victories against Florida Atlantic University and the Army with game-winning fourth quarter drives earlier in the season, they found themselves on the opposite end this time around. Leftwich and senior running back Jeremiah Laufusa were able to lead the Miners down the field on what would be the game-winning drive, as Mattox put his team up for good with just 48 seconds left in the game.For the second consecutive game, the Owls’ offense appeared to stagnate due to an inability to run the ball consistently. Despite 31 attempts, the team was only able to muster 90 rushing yards, 53 of which came courtesy of redshirt junior running back Darik Dillard. Head Coach David Bailiff mentioned after last week’s loss to Louisiana Tech University how crucial it is for his offense to run the ball effectively, and that was evident yet again. The Owls were out-possessed for one of the few times this season — holding the ball for only 26:36 — which undoubtedly played a factor in the team’s loss.Bailiff, whose team only had 22 plays in the second half, said the team needs to do a better job of capitalizing on offense.“When you’re playing a team that’s keeping the ball and you’re having trouble stopping them, we’ve got to take advantage of when we had the ball, and we just didn’t do it,” Bailiff said. “We weren’t moving people at the line of scrimmage well. You’ve got to sustain blocks, keep your helmets on people. We’ve got to look at this video and figure out why we’re having trouble establishing the run, because earlier in the year we were good at it.”Redshirt senior quarterback Driphus Jackson shared the same sentiments and said he attributes the loss to a lack of physicality.“We just got outmatched,” Jackson said. “They were more physical than us, they wanted it more than us, and they got it.”Several players lamented how inconsistent the team has been this season, as the most recent loss against UTEP added to an incredibly up-and-down season. While there have been impressive victories over the University of North Texas, Florida Atlantic and Army, there have also been numerous bad losses, such as those to Western Kentucky University, Louisiana Tech University and now, UTEP. Redshirt senior defensive tackle Ross Winship said the team needs to work on fixing these inconsistencies.“Tonight we played really inconsistent football and left a lot of plays on the field, defensively and offensively,” Winship said. “We have to make the plays we have to make to score or have stops in the critical times of the game. The inconsistencies of how we’ve been playing has really been eating us up.”The loss to the Miners eliminated the Owls from contention within the Conference USA West Division, leaving the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and the University of Southern Mississippi as the remaining contenders. With a Conference USA title therefore out of reach, the Owls will shift their focus to qualifying for a bowl game for the fourth consecutive year. To do so, however, they will need to win two of their final three games, the next of which comes against Southern Mississippi. According to Jackson, it will be challenging road ahead, but one on which the Owls are ready to embark.“We’re just looking forward to getting back to it this week and moving on to Southern Mississippi,” Jackson said.The Owls will look to improve their record to 5-5 and get one win closer to bowl eligibility with a homecoming matchup against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on Nov. 14 at 2:30 p.m. at Rice Stadium.

SPORTS 11/4/15 5:27am

Soccer senior class leaves legacy

Thursday night at Holloway Field, we witnessed the end of an era. Every year in college athletics a group of seniors leave, but the five seniors leaving from the soccer team have done amazing things to solidify themselves as one of the best senior classes in Rice soccer history.  To start, this class is the only class to secure multiple conference championships. In 2012, their freshman year, they won the Conference USA regular season with eight conference wins. Then after a disappointing 2013 campaign, the team rebounded in 2014 to win the C-USA tournament and secure a berth to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005. A great class normally needs a star player. This class does not have just one star but two. Holly Hargreaves and Lauren Hughes have been causing havoc for C-USA backlines for four years. Hargreaves and Hughes are the best scorers in Rice history; Hughes will finish her career first in goals, assists and points while Hargreaves will finish second in goals and points. They have combined for six First Team All-C-USA honors (three each), Hargreaves was named C-USA Freshman of the Year in 2012, and Hughes was named C-USA Offensive Player of the Year in 2014 and 2015. Every superstar needs a strong supporting cast. First there is Danielle Spriggs, the outside midfielder who runs more 40-yard sprints in a game than most collegiate football players preparing for the NFL combine. Over the last two years, Spriggs has become a constant on the wing, starting every game and helping Hughes and Hargreaves put goals in the back of the net. Next is Jasmine Isokpunwu, who has helped solidify the defense. She has played center back and center defensive mid, but she is most exciting to watch in the air. Isokpunwu is so strong in the air, winning 50-50 balls as well as using her head to redirect corners or free kicks towards the back of the net. Her play this year earned her Second Team All-C-USA honors. Rounding out the five seniors is goalkeeper Kara Dugall. She has not started many games in her career, but has provided quality minutes in net when called upon. However, I know for all the seniors on this team, the past does not matter. What matters is this week, the 2015 C-USA championship and defending their C-USA title. The Owls enter the tournament as the fourth seed, which means a potential semi-final match up against the University of North Texas, the first seed in the tournament, in a rematch of last year’s C-USA title match. The two teams faced each other two weeks ago in Denton, TX on senior night, and the Owls dropped the match 2-1. Rice conceded two goals in the first 20 minutes. Afterwards, Rice calmed down and possessed the ball, however we were unable to complete passes in the offensive third and unable to put multiple quality shots on goal to test their keeper. Even in defeat, the team knows they can beat North Texas and wants a chance at revenge.Hopefully this senior class gets at least five more games and can add another accolade to its legacy: The first ever NCAA tournament victory in school history. 

SPORTS 11/4/15 5:27am

Volleyball upsets WKU in thriller

On Halloween afternoon, the Rice University volleyball team defeated the conference-leading No. 22 Western Kentucky University in a thrilling five-setter (25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 23-25, 16-14) at Tudor Fieldhouse, snapping Western Kentucky’s 17-match win streak and avenging Rice’s five-set loss to Western Kentucky last year in the Conference USA championship match. With the win, the Owls hand Western Kentucky their first C-USA loss of the season and improve to an 18-8 overall record and 8-4 in conference play, placing them third in the C-USA standings.According to Rice Head Coach Genny Volpe, the Owls performed and competed at a high level. “Today was fun,” Volpe said. ”Our team has been up and down all season, but it seems like when we play strong opponents, we step up our game. It was a battle to the very end, and we happened to come out on top this time. It was great volleyball between two evenly matched teams that run a balanced offense.”Rice recorded season-highs in kills (83) and assists (81) with three players posting double-doubles. The C-USA Setter of the Week, sophomore setter Madison McDaniel, set a career-high 70 assists in addition to notching 12 digs. Junior outside hitter Leah Mikesky led all players with 21 kills (.280) complemented with 16 digs, and senior outside hitter Noelle Whitlock achieved a match and career-high 24 digs while also contributing 16 kills (.231). Whitlock also eclipsed 1,000 career digs late in the third set and became the 16th Owl in school history to reach such a feat.Whitlock said the achievement helped propel the team to victory.“I think [this achievement] helped me realize that this is going to be a big win,” Whitlock said after the match. “That would make that day so much better, just having both this win and 1,000 digs.” Rice took the first set 25-23 without ever trailing and held Western Kentucky to a .222 hitting percentage. The Owls never trailed in the second set either, winning 25-21 and led by as much as seven, maintaining a match-high .465 kill percentage. However, the Toppers rallied from behind to take the second and third sets 25-22 and 25-23, respectively, to force a deciding fifth set. The Toppers jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the fifth set, but the Owls responded with a 7-1 run and never looked back, winning 16-14 to complete the upset.Rice now prepares for their upcoming road games against the University of Texas, San Antonio on Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Marshall University on Sunday at 12 p.m. UTSA sits just above Rice at second place in the Conference USA standings, while Marshall is in eighth place with an even 6-6 record.

SPORTS 11/4/15 5:26am

Football drops pivotal C-USA matchup

After sacrificing 320 yards and four touchdowns from Louisiana Tech University redshirt senior quarterback Jeff Driskel, the Rice University football team fell to Louisiana Tech 42-17. The loss dropped the Owls to 4-4 (2-2) on the season.In a game that had major implications in the Conference USA West Division, the Bulldogs struck first on their opening drive, with junior wide receiver Trent Taylor catching a 47-yard touchdown pass from Driskel on third down. While the Owls tied the game on their ensuing drive with a four-yard touchdown run from redshirt freshman Samuel Stewart, the Bulldogs went up 14-7 when Driskel connected with redshirt sophomore wide receiver Carlos Henderson from 14 yards away from the end zone. The teams traded punts until midway through the second quarter, at which point the Bulldogs went on a drive that would be the turning point of the game. Louisiana Tech marched down the field to the Owls one-yard line with an opportunity to take a two-possession lead in the game. After the Owls stuffed senior running back Kenneth Dixon on consecutive plays, they forced an incompletion on third and goal, appearing to come up with a huge third down stop that would keep the game close. Redshirt freshman safety J.T. Ibe was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play — his second personal foul penalty of the drive — giving Louisiana Tech another chance to put the ball on the end zone. Dixon took advantage with a two-yard touchdown run, and the Bulldogs never looked back: The rushing score initiated a string of 28 unanswered points that would put the game out of reach.Rice Head Coach David Bailiff said he was upset with Ibe’s penalties, as well as several others by other players at key points in the game.“Those are selfish penalties, and we’re not going to have a selfish football team,” Bailiff said. “We start every year talking about how we’re going to be the hardest, smartest working football team in Conference USA; that’s not smart football, it’s got nothing to do with hard work.”According to Bailiff, his team’s inability to sustain momentum was a key reason for the defeat.“After that first half, we got into the locker room and they had three big plays and that was the difference in that half,” Bailiff said. “We thought we could run the ball by throwing the ball around a little bit, but a lot of the woes offensively were where we could move the chains and we’d have a drop or have a stupid penalty, and you can’t do that playing a good football team.”Redshirt senior quarterback Driphus Jackson acknowledged Louisiana Tech’s prowess as a team, but said the loss came from the Owls’ inability to execute.“They were a fast, physical team, but this is one of those games that I thought we lost it more than they actually won it,” Jackson said. “I’m not saying that to take away anything that went on in the game, but I think that [Quarterbacks] Coach [Larry] Edmondson called a great game. Offensively we didn’t execute at all.”In all likelihood, the loss to Louisiana Tech has made the Owls’ chances of winning the Conference USA West Division — and thereby earning a trip to the Conference USA title game— extremely slim. The loss dropped the Owls to 2-2 in Conference USA play, while the Bulldogs and the University of Southern Mississippi are tied atop the division with a 4-1 record. According to redshirt senior defensive tackle Stuart Mouchantaf, the team can draw on their recent season for belief that they can pull off the feat.“A few years ago we were in this position; we had to win six straight, and we did it,” Mouchantaf said. “We just need to remind the young ones that we can do this and we can keep it alive, but we have to believe and we have to work.”

SPORTS 11/4/15 4:24am

Soccer freshmen shine on Senior Night

The 2015 Conference USA tournament field is set and the Rice Owls are looking to bring home the championship. As the No. 4 seed in the tournament, Rice must win three consecutive games to earn the title and receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Owls have momentum on their side after their Senior Night 4-0 shutout of the University of Texas, San Antonio. Despite the talented offensive group of seniors including Lauren Hughes, Holly Hargreaves and Danielle Spriggs, the underclassmen led the way against the Roadrunners. With the win, Rice closed out the regular season with a 10-6-2 record (6-3-1 C-USA).  Before Thursday’s final regular season game, the graduating seniors of the 2015 squad were highlighted for their commitment to Rice soccer and quest for excellence over the past four years. Once the game started, however it was the freshman who made a statement that the program is in good hands moving forward.In the fifth minute of the match, the scoring opened when freshman midfielder Dominique Mazero intercepted a pass in the midfield and fired off a shot on goal to give Rice the early 1-0 advantage. In the 35th minute of the match, the Owls scored again when sophomore forward Nia Stallings received a cross from junior transfer Madeleine Lundberg and deposited it by the far post for the 2-0 lead. Rice finished the half with a 15-3 advantage in shots and forced the UTSA goalkeeper to come up with six saves. Rice came out in the second half with complete control of the match both offensively and defensively. The Owls were able to make substitutions and provide rest for some of their regular starters. The bench did not disappoint, netting two goals as well and preserving the shutout.In the 75th minute, freshman defender Darcy Mickalow scored her first career goal for the Owls on a header after a sharp cross from senior midfielder Danielle Spriggs. Freshman midfielder Gabby Martinez found forward Marissa Topolski on the far right wing of the field. Topolski then played in a bending ball for freshman forward Annie Walker in the 81st for the fourth goal of the match. Senior goalkeeper Kara Dugall closed out the match and preserved the shutout as every healthy member of the Owls squad made an appearance in the game. Head Coach Nicky Adams said the seniors have been a model class for the university.“This senior class has been amazing for the program,” Adams said. “They have set the staple of expectations for this program and [are] leaving us with the most wins we’ve ever had, along with the most championships. They’re leaving a legacy and set the standard for the rest of the teams to follow as years go on.” Adams and the Owls have to win a total of four games in a row to get to the NCAA tournament level, but Adams said they are confident they have the capability to do so.“We’re definitely going to do our best [to win the tournament],” Adams said. “We’re actually in our fourth season now with preseason, regular season, conference and now postseason play and [we’ve] been playing all year for this. We need to sharpen up and be our absolute best against whoever we play in the conference tournament.” According to Dugall, the team wants to recreate its feeling from winning last season’s conference tournament.“I think our biggest thing is staying focused on the goal and not looking too far ahead but rather take it one game at a time,” Dugall said. “That feeling of winning conference and beating [the University of] North Texas was special for us last year and we want that feeling again.”The No. 4 seed Rice Owls will face the No. 5 seed Middle Tennessee State University on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 1:30 p.m. The two teams battled to 0-0 double overtime tie back on Oct. 18 at Holloway Field. Rice held the clear advantage in that matchup, taking 26 shots compared to Middle Tennessee’s 13 but were held in check by the Blue Raiders’ goalkeeper, who registered 13 saves. The winner of that matchup then likely plays the No. 1 seed of the tournament, the University of North Texas. Rice defeated the Mean Green in the 2014 Conference USA championship game last season and may have the opportunity to bump them off once again. The Owls narrowly lost to North Texas by a 2-1 score when they met on Oct. 25.The Conference USA tournament begins on Wednesday, Nov. 4. The tournament is hosted by Florida International University in Miami, FL.

SPORTS 10/28/15 5:47am

Rice falls in five sets to Louisana Tech

In a tight five-setter, the Rice University volleyball team surrendered a 2-1 set lead to Louisiana Tech University and fell short Sunday evening (21-25, 25-12, 25-16, 26-28, 13-15) at the Thomas Assembly Center. 

SPORTS 10/28/15 5:46am

Soccer falls to C-USA Champs North Texas

While the remnants of Hurricane Patricia swept its way through the outskirts of Dallas, Texas, the Rice University and University of North Texas soccer teams were engaged in a Conference USA battle. In a game that saw warnings and yellow cards handed out on both sides, the Mean Green narrowly beat out Rice by a final score of 2-1. 

SPORTS 10/24/15 10:14am

Football defeats Army on last-minute touchdown

With just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, senior quarterback Driphus Jackson and the Rice offense drove down the field and scored a last-minute touchdown to break a 31-31 tie and defeat the United States Military Academy, 38-31.With the win, the Owls have improved their overall record to 4-3 and have now won four consecutive matchups against Army. Rice has also now won 14 of their last 16 games played at Rice Stadium.Playing in the pouring rain, Rice struck first on a 34 yard touchdown run from redshirt junior running back Darik Dillard just one minute and 22 seconds into the game. Rice also scored the second touchdown less than one minute later on a one yard run from redshirt freshman running back Samuel Stewart. The Owls hold onto the 14-0 lead through the first quarter.Army began to claw back in the second quarter, however, scoring 14 points to Rice’s 10 in the quarter. Army then scored the lone touchdown of the third quarter to bring the score to 24-21 Rice entering the final period.Although Jackson scored his first touchdown pass of the game early in the fourth quarter to redshirt sophomore former quarterback Nate German, Army went on to 10 unanswered points, including the game-tying field goal with 2:13 remaining in the game.Jackson, who finished the day 20-30 for 267 yards and two touchdowns, led the Owls on a seven-play, 75-yard game-winning drive in 1:49. With 24 seconds in the game left, Jackson found redshirt junior wide receiver Zach Wright in the back of the endzone for a 12 yard touchdown pass, which would seal Rice’s victory.Rice next plays Louisiana Tech University on Friday, Oct. 30 at Rice Stadium. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

SPORTS 10/20/15 9:12pm

Rice wins over UTEP volleyball 3-0

Coming off two straight losses to Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Texas, San Antonio, the Rice University women’s volleyball team rallied to defeat the University of Texas, El Paso in three sets (25-21, 25-18, 25-19). The win takes the Owls’ record to 14-7 overall and places them at sixth in the Conference USA standings.

SPORTS 10/20/15 8:06pm

Football win marks turning point

As a Florida boy, the afternoon thunderstorm was nothing new. One second I was trying to survive the 95-degree heat and the next I was heading for cover from the lightning. Normally, once the storm passes, life returns to the way it was before. However, life was very different after the thunderstorm in Boca Raton, Florida on Oct. 10, 2015. Before the storm, Rice football was losing to Florida Atlantic University. Rice had a horrible third quarter in which it ran 10 plays for seven total yards. FAU scored a rushing touchdown after multiple missed tackles, which gave them a 12-point lead with just under 14 minutes remaining in the game. My Owls looked flat, defeated and ready to return to Texas. Then the storm came, teams returned to the locker room and fans to the concourse. Then I waited. What team would I witness when the delay ended? A team that still believed it could reach its goal of winning a conference championship? A team that still wanted to go to a fourth consecutive bowl game? Or a team that was ready to pack their bags and start preparing for Army? I do not know if lightning struck our locker room or what redshirt junior linebacker Alex Lyons supposedly said, but there was a new energy when the team returned to the sideline. The team stopped the two-point conversion to remain down by only 12, but a lot of work was still left to be done in a short amount of time. Our offense drove down the field, but was unable to convert on fourth down to give the ball back to FAU. The offense was animated on the sideline. Senior quarterback Driphus Jackson was pacing up and down, wanting at least two more chances to lead his team to victory. And luckily, his defense helped get him the ball back after forcing a three-and-out. Rice took over at their own nine-yard line with just eight minutes left still trailing by two scores. After a 60 yard completion to senior tight end Connor Cella put Rice at the FAU 21 yard line, I saw a play I had not seen yet in this game. Rice spread out the wide receivers and ran a designed quarterback draw. With great blocking downfield from the offensive line, and a few swift moves from Jackson, Rice was within one score. The defense then came up with another huge stop. The big play came on third down when sophomore safety Destri White had a huge open field tackle to force a punt. Rice got the ball at our own 17 needing to score a touchdown in under five minutes to take the lead. The defense was standing on the sideline cheering on the offense. Everyone in South Florida wearing blue and gray had hope that we were going to march down the field and score the game-winning touchdown. The final drive was a work of art. It started with an incredible 25-yard completion to senior running back Darik Dillard along the sideline coming out of the backfield on a wheel route. Rice then rushed six straight plays for 54 yards down to the FAU four-yard line. After a holding call, Rice dug deep into its bag of tricks by trying a jet sweep pass with backup quarterback Nate German, but it was unsuccessful. On the next play, Jackson found Dillard out of the backfield who walked into the end zone to give the Owls the one point lead. The game was not over, as two minutes still remained on the clock. FAU got into Rice territory after a 29-yard pass on their first play of the drive, but our confidence in the stands and confidence on the field never wavered. Rice forced a fourth and five and Lyons, the man who gave the speech in the locker room during the storm, ended the game with sack to give Rice a much needed conference victory. There are moments in a year that define or change a season. I strongly believe our season changed with one normal Florida thunderstorm. We went from a team trying to find an identity to a team that now has confidence and momentum leading into the second half of the season with all of its goals still in reach. And importantly, a team that has a new theme song: ACDC’s “Thunderstruck.”Jeremy Reiskind is a Duncan College junior.

SPORTS 10/20/15 8:04pm

Soccer readies for postseason

With a 2-0 record last weekend, the Rice University soccer team positioned themselves for another late-season run towards the Conference USA championship. The Owls competed in two more games this weekend and came away with one win and one tie, stretching their unbeaten streak to four matches. On Friday night, Rice defeated the University of Alabama, Birmingham by a score of 2-0. The team followed this performance up with a Sunday matchup against Middle Tennessee State University that ended in a 0-0 double overtime tie. The Owls have accumulated 16 points so far in conference and are currently in second place in C-USA with a 9-5-2 (5-2-1) record. Rice matched up against a UAB team that had just two wins on the season as of Friday night. The Owls scored in the 26th minute when sophomore midfielder Samantha Chaiken elevated to head a corner kick into the back of the net.The second Owls goal came just six minutes later from senior forward Holly Hargreaves. The Owls had opportunities to tack on more goals as the game went on hitting the crossbar on multiple occasions but settled for the 2-0 victory over the Blazers. On Sunday afternoon, the Owls hosted the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. In the second half, Rice owned possession time and outshot their opposition 13-2. Despite leading the shot margin 26-13, the match ended in a scoreless draw rewarding each team with one point. All four defenders for Rice along with junior goalkeeper Zoe Pochobradsky played 110 minutes in route to recording their third shutout in the last four games. Head Coach Nicky Adams said she was disappointed the Owls could not connect on offensive opportunities.“Overall, I thought we battled extremely hard … [I’m] just disappointed that one of the 26 opportunities that we had did not go in but you have to give so much credit to their goalkeeper,” Adams said. “13 saves on the day is huge and she had some legit saves so a lot of credit goes to that kid between the pipes.”Adams reiterated the importance of finishing opportunities. She said the team has great potential when they can put everything together, including the goals. “It’s great to see the defense hold up [and the] shots on goal but at the end of the day you need every unit together and finishing to get some W’s,” Adams said. “We’re brilliant out there when everybody is on the same page, but we have to do it a little more consistently.” Sophomore forward Nia Stallings said she is excited to now face the University of North Texas, currently ranked first in C-USA with a 6-0-1 Conference record. “They are always a tough opponent and they come out really hard and physical but we’ll be ready for that and give it right back to them,” Stallings said. “The plan is to go over there and come out with the win.”The highly anticipated matchup dates back to last season when the two teams played each other on two separate occasions, each in dramatic fashion. On Oct. 12, 2014, Rice and North Texas fought to a 1-1 double overtime draw at Holloway Field. The two squads then faced each other once more in the championship game of the Conference USA tournament where Rice defeated North Texas by a 2-0 final and secured an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Rice will take the field against North Texas on Sunday at 7 p.m.

SPORTS 10/20/15 7:58pm

Football reflects midway through season

Redshirt junior linebacker Alex Lyons’ sealed a comeback win over Florida Atlantic University by sacking redshirt senior quarterback Jaquez Johnson on the fourth down, giving his team an inspirational win in what has been an uneven season.It was the type of exciting, uplifting victory that can change Rice’s season, according to Head Coach David Bailiff.“I just don’t know if I’ve ever had a sweeter win at Rice,” Bailiff said. “It was just an incredible experience to see the guys’ faces in that locker room and to know how hard we worked at the end to make that happen.”In many ways, the win over Florida Atlantic was a microcosm of Rice’s 2015 season. There were flashes of brilliance, such as the fourth quarter of the FAU game that Bailiff described as the “best quarter of football we played this year” and the touchdowns Rice scored on their first two drives of the game. There were long stretches of impressive ball control but an inability to put points on the board, as the Owls had a stretch of five drives in which they did not score, despite two of those drives lasting 16 and 11 plays. The defense showed a propensity to give up big plays, as they did in the second quarter with a 94-yard touchdown pass from Johnson to sophomore Kamrin Solomon. Yet amid considerable adversity, Bailiff said there was a team that showed belief in itself and their ability to win games.“We kept our focus,” Bailiff said. “We kept our attitude, and I’m proud of this team and proud of this coaching staff. Nobody gave up. It’s incredible.”Heading into the season, the question for Rice was how the team would replace considerable losses on both sides of the ball. The team had lost three starters on the offensive line, their top two receivers in Jordan Taylor and Mario Hull, as well as defensive tackle Christian Covington, defensive end Brian Nordstrom and cornerback Bryce Callahan. Yet despite these losses, the Owls retained their entire coaching staff, and perhaps more importantly, had stability at the quarterback position, with Jackson returning for his final season. Rice was viewed as one of the favorites to win Conference USA, along with Western Kentucky University and Louisiana Tech University. Given these expectations, results to this point have been mixed.Offensively, the Owls have seen several weapons emerge. Junior running back Jowan Davis and redshirt junior running back Darik Dillard were the established running backs heading into the season, with Davis having run for 956 yards in 2014 and Dillard having averaged 4.9 yards per carry a season ago. In addition to these two players, redshirt freshman running back Samuel Stewart has become a dynamic weapon out of the backfield, with a breakout performance against the University of Texas, Austin where he eclipsed 100 yards rushing. The losses of Taylor and Hull to the NFL figured to be big losses for the team, but redshirt senior Dennis Parks and redshirt junior Zach Wright have been effective in replacing them, with Parks accumulating 381 receiving yards to date and Wright having eight catches for 77 yards and a touchdown in the comeback win over Florida Atlantic. Despite these weapons, the Achilles heel of the Owls has been turnovers: They have lost nine fumbles and have thrown six interceptions to this point. As a result, Rice ranks No. 116 in the NCAA with an average turnover margin per game of -1.33. Though the offense has established an offensive identity of controlling the ball and methodically moving upfield, their self-inflicted wounds have cost them in some games.Defensively, results have also been mixed. The team was able to make the key stops against Florida Atlantic, and played strong games against Wagner College and the University of North Texas according to Bailiff, Jackson and defensive end Brian Womac. That said, the Owls lost considerable depth in their secondary from a year ago, and that has shown at times this season. In games against Baylor, Texas, and Western Kentucky, Rice has been burned repeatedly by long passing plays, giving Rice the No. 102 pass defense in the country. They have also been unable to generate a consistent pass rush and force turnovers this season, ranking last in Conference USA in sacks and second to last in turnovers forced. Despite the mixed results on offense and defense, Bailiff said he is confident that his team will get on track and put together the complete football game that they searching for the entire season.“When we can stay on track as a football team and keep ourselves out of third and longs, we are pretty effective,” Bailiff said. “We were staying on track [against Florida Atlantic], and we will continue to do so.“By defeating Florida Atlantic, the Owls put themselves in strong position in the Conference USA West division. With a 2-1 Conference USA record, they are tied with Louisiana Tech and Southern Mississippi for the best record in the division. They control their own fate for the remainder of the season, and with a 3-3 overall record, require three more wins to qualify for a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season.In celebration of a comeback victory over Florida Atlantic, Lyons and his team let out the frustration that came with two consecutive blowout losses, and as the postgame press conference showed, were inspired by a renewed sense of optimism for the rest of the season. Whether the Owls can embark on a winning streak that will turn an up-and-down season into a successful one remains to be seen, but the team is confident in their ability to do so.The Owls return from a bye week and will look for their fourth win of the season in a home matchup against the United States Military Academy on Oct. 24 at 11 a.m. at Rice Stadium.

SPORTS 10/7/15 3:42am

Baseball announces 2016 schedule

Seeking their 21st consecutive conference championship, the Rice University baseball team has begun their fall training and have announced their season schedule. According to the Owls’ newly released 2016 schedule, they will open their season with a home game against the University of Arizona on Feb. 16. That will be the first of 54 regular season games, 31 of which will be at Reckling Park. Rice will begin its slate of Conference USA games on March 18 in San Antonio against the University of Texas, San Antonio. They will then play a three-game series against conference foes Old Dominion University, Middle Tennessee State University, the University of Alabama, Birmingham, Western Kentucky University, the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. The Owls will face off against defending Conference USA champion Florida International University May 6-8 in Miami before playing Florida Atlantic University, which ranked No. 24 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll at the end of last season. Rice will finish conference play with a three-game series against Louisiana Tech University May 19-21.According to senior pitcher Blake Fox, the Owls cannot overlook their conference schedule despite the limited number of nationally ranked teams.“You’ve got to give credit to our conference,” Fox said. “We definitely have some teams that are tough opponents and we’ve seen that in the past.”Strong opponents will come from both inside and outside Conference USA. The Owls will take on seven different teams that ranked in the top 25 of the USA Today Coaches’ Poll at the end of the 2015 season. The first of those games will come on Feb. 23 against Dallas Baptist University, which finished the 2015 season ranked No. 17 in the country and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in the past five years. Then, beginning on Feb. 26, the Owls will take part in the Minute Maid Classic held at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. During this event, they will play three opponents that were ranked last season: the University of Arkansas, Texas Christian University and University of Louisiana, Lafayette.Senior infielder Grayson Lewis said many of the players are especially excited to play Louisiana-Lafayette because the Ragin’ Cajuns eliminated the Owls from the NCAA tournament regionals last season. “We definitely owe Louisiana-Lafayette a little something after regionals,” Lewis said. Rice will begin its annual series against the University of Houston with a game at Cougar Field on March 22. The Owls will play Houston two more times, on May 10 and 17. The Cougars ranked No. 23 in the coaches’ poll at the end of the 2015 season with a record of 43-20, but the Owls eliminated them from the NCAA tournament with a 3-2 win in 20 innings. Houston, however, won last season’s regular season series over Rice two games to one. According to Fox, the games against Houston will be some of the most fun for him as a player. “Just because of the way the [Houston] games went last year, I’m definitely looking forward to those games,” Fox said. “I’d say those games are the ones I’m looking forward to most.”Rice will finish its slate of games against last year’s top 25 with matchups against Texas A&M University on April 5 and conference foe FAU in mid-May. Other non-conference opponents include Texas State University, Sam Houston State University, the University of Central Florida, Lamar University and East Carolina University. While the schedule is long and full of highly ranked opponents, the players feel optimistic. When asked about his hopes for the season, senior infielder Connor Teykl said only two words. “Obviously, Omaha,” Teykl said, referencing the city that hosts the College World Series. The Owls will hope to make a trip to the College World Series for the first time since 2008. While the regular season does not start until February, Rice’s journey to Omaha has already begun. The Owls will play an exhibition game against Lamar, one of their 2016 opponents, on Saturday, Oct. 17 at Reckling Park.

SPORTS 10/7/15 3:41am

Football suffers loss to Western Kentucky

 Playing at home for the first time in a month, the Rice University football team was defeated by sixth-year senior quarterback Brandon Doughty and Western Kentucky University, snapping a five-game home winning streak and dropping the Owls to 2-3 (1-1) on the season in a 49-10 loss.The Hilltoppers got the ball to open the game and the Owls’ defense promptly forced a three-and-out, after which Rice would march down the field and strike first with a field goal. The lead, however, was short-lived. Western Kentucky would go on to score four touchdowns on its next five possessions, while the Owls’ next five drives yielded two punts, two lost fumbles and an interception. A game with a promising beginning quickly turned awry for the home team. By the time redshirt senior quarterback Driphus Jackson was benched in the second quarter in favor of junior backup Tyler Stehling, the team trailed 28-3 and would do little the rest of the game to decrease the deficit.In the first-ever meeting between the Conference USA schools, Rice was outgained in total yardage, possessed the ball four minutes fewer than the Hilltoppers, and gained nine fewer first downs than their opponent. While the Owls were unable to force a turnover, they committed five of their own, off of which Western Kentucky scored 21 points. The Rice defense faced an NFL-caliber quarterback for the second straight week, and proved not to be up to the task again. Doughty threw for 409 yards and four touchdowns in a typically strong performance.Head Coach David Bailiff, who expressed concern following last week’s 70-17 loss to Baylor University about putting the big loss behind his team, said his team was not ready to play the Hilltoppers, and took the blame for it.“We didn’t play very [well] today, and that’s on me,” Bailiff said. “I didn’t have those guys ready to go. It’s my job to make sure the offense is ready, the defense is ready, and the special teams is ready.”According to Bailiff, the Owls’ turnovers and poor tackling on defense exemplified unusually poor play, and that the team would need to return to form soon.“We have more turnovers already this year than all of last season,” Bailiff said. “We’ve got to stop that. We have to tackle defensively. We’ve had more missed tackles in the last two games than in the first three. The formula for success has always been take care of the football, get points at the end of drives offensively — we’re not doing that. You just can’t win football games this way.”In years past, the Owls have gained a reputation as a disciplined team that does not commit many penalties. Bailiff said this year’s team has not been playing like it has in recent years.“We had eight penalties, and that’s not who we are,” Bailiff said. “We’ve been one of the least penalized teams in Conference USA since I’ve been here. Some of them were late. We need to work on those. It’s not who we are, and it’s not how we’re going to do this.”According to Bailiff, spectators should not to read too much into his decision to bench Jackson after the quarterback turned the ball over on consecutive drives in the second quarter.“I was just trying to stimulate the offense,” Bailiff said. “Driphus [Jackson] is our starter. He’ll be right back here as our starting quarterback. [Benching Jackson] was just to rally the troops and throw the ball down the field.”Rice will next face Florida Atlantic University, who are 1-3 overall, but 1-0 in Conference USA play. The two teams last faced off in 2013, when Rice was able to pull out an 18-14 home victory. While FAU redshirt senior quarterback Jaquez Johnson sustained an injury in the team’s second game of the season, FAU boasts a pair of running backs in sophomore Greg Howell and junior Jay Warren that average above five yards per carry. Following the loss to Western Kentucky, Bailiff said the team needs to turn the page and focus on winning out the remainder of the schedule.“We have to get better,” Bailiff said. “We have great seniors in here and we have some great leaders on this team. We’re not going to let it go the wrong way; it’s not going to happen. There’s nobody left on our schedule that we can’t beat. We’re going to expect winning, and it’s what’s going to get done.”The Owls will look to halt their two-game losing streak in a road matchup against FAU at 1:30 p.m. in Boca Raton, Florida.

SPORTS 10/6/15 7:16pm

Soccer splits weekend matches at home

The Rice University soccer team played two consecutive matches at home for the first time since Sept. 6. The Owls either tied or broke a school record in each game resulting in an exciting weekend of games. On Friday night’s 4-2 victory over Florida International University, senior forward Lauren Hughes registered three assists, tying a school record. In Sunday’s matchup against Florida Atlantic University, Rice was trailing 2-1 leading up to the final moments of the match. In a frenzied finish, Rice tied the game at the 89:58 mark of the match, just two seconds from the final whistle for what became the latest goal in Rice history. However, Rice eventually lost in double overtime 3-2. The Owls are currently 6-5-1 (2-2 in C-USA) on the season. At the 1:21 mark of the first half, Hughes drove in a ball to sophomore Nia Stallings who secured a touch and put it past the keeper into the back of the net to open up the scoring. After FIU tied the match up in the 19th minute of play, the Owls quickly responded with a goal in the 21st minute. Junior transfer midfielder Madeleine Lundberg fired in a shot from just inside the 18-yard box to reclaim the lead for Rice. Following halftime, Rice scored again to make it 3-1 on Hughes’s third consecutive assist. The scoring for the afternoon was complete in the 58th minute when Hughes scored a goal of her own to give her six on the season to put the game away for Rice. The four goals scored were not only by four different players but were more goals than Rice had scored in their previous four road games combined. The Owls held on for a 4-2 final. The Sunday matchup featured a battle of the two Owls squads in Conference USA. Rice delivered the first blow in the 30th minute of the match. Freshman forward Marissa Topolski navigated her way around a defender on the outside of the box and fired in a low cross to senior midfielder Danielle Spriggs who had the easy tap-in right in front of goal for her second goal on the weekend. FAU then responded by scoring two goals in the 34th and 39th minute of the match to take a 2-1 lead into halftime. Rice played the entire second half looking for the equalizing goal and outshot FAU 14-5 but continued to come up empty. As the stadium announcer counted down from 10 seconds to the final buzzer, Rice was busy trying to redirect a bouncing ball into the net. After multiple deflections from players on both teams and a shot by Hughes, senior defender Jasmine Isokpunwu fired it home with two seconds remaining in the game to stun FAU. In the 99th minute of the match, Rice looked like they had the game-winning goal on a put-back shot by Hughes, but an offside call negated the goal and sent the game into a second overtime where FAU would score and hand Rice the 3-2 loss.Head Coach Nicky Adams said she credits the execution of the game plan and the play of her forwards up top to the victory on Friday night. “I thought we had a great game plan going into it,” Adams said. “Lauren [Hughes], Nia [Stallings] and [senior forward Holly Hargreaves] up top were amazing for us. [Hughes] with three assists just shows what a dynamic player she is where she can score goals and can also put people in front of goals.”Adams said the last-second goal represents the essence of her team. “We outshot them 14-5 [in the second half] which is really tremendous,” Adams said. “We knew a goal was going to come but it was just a matter of time. It just shows the character of those girls … how amazing they are and their commitment to this team and to the game itself.” Lundberg, a transfer from the Air Force Academy, said all the goals scored originate from team effort. “For me, it’s all a clean state [being at Rice],” Lundberg said. “I’m out there with my teammates and we’re working together so well to the point it shows in our scoring. The goals were 100 percent team effort which is the way it should be.” Spriggs, a team captain for the 2015 season, has started in 45 of the last 47 games for the Owls. She said the perseverance shown by her team to fight down to the final second in Sunday’s match will benefit the team as they look ahead to two road games this upcoming week. “I think our resilience showed that our team is a team that’s not going to shy away when down a goal or when things get tough,” Spriggs said. “That’s something that is going to help us as we move forward in the season.” The Owls will head back on the road for the next two games to face Old Dominion University and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte in more C-USA competition. On Friday night, Rice will face an ODU team coming off a weekend of two rain-suspended matches. Rice will then face Charlotte, who were on the losing end of back-to-back 1-0 games this weekend. 

SPORTS 10/3/15 4:12pm

Rice falls to Western Kentucky, 49-10

Rice lost to Western Kentucky by a score of 49-10 Saturday afternoon. The loss drops them to 2-3 on the season, and 1-1 in Conference USA play.After Rice opened up with a 3-0 lead, WKU senior quarterback Brandon Daughty led the Hilltoppers down the field, throwing four touchdowns over the next five drives and leading to 28 unanswered points for Western Kentucky. Daughty showed why he is regarded as one of the best quarterbacks in the conference, ending the day going 28/38 for 409 yards and four TD.For Rice, Driphus Jackson struggled mightily. On Rice’s first six drives, Jackson went 5/10 for 87 yards with one interception and one fumble. These struggles led him to be benched in favor of redshirt junior Tyler Stehling early in the second quarter after Jackson’s interception. Stehling started the game strong, going 4/6 for 56 yards on his first drive, leading to a Luke Turner rushing touchdown. Stehling finished the game 11/19 with 150 yards and one interception.Samuel Stewart was a bright spot for the struggling Rice offense, averaging almost six yards per carry, rushing for 60 yards on 11 carries. Ultimately, losing the turnover battle 5-0 and failing to score in the second half proved too much for Rice to keep the game close.Rice continues playing their Conference USA schedule next week when they travel to Florida Atlantic.