Click here for updates on the evolving COVID-19 situation at Rice
Rice University’s Student Newspaper — Since 1916

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 — Houston, TX °

Evan Neustater


SPORTS 9/5/16 10:11pm

The Fifth Quarter: Rice, Big 12 a perfect match

In what has come as a shock to many, including myself, Rice finds itself as one of the final 11 universities under consideration for Big 12 expansion. The Big 12 Conference, which ironically has 10 teams, has expressed interest in expanding to 12 or 14 teams, and Rice could be one of the newest members of the conference. I have heard arguments as to why we should not join, and the concerns are legitimate: We do not have the fan support, we will have to deal with losing seasons, et cetera.



SPORTS 2/2/16 9:04pm

The Fifth Quarter

Rice has recently demonstrated a commitment to increasing its athletic fan base. Specifically, they’ve been focusing on increasing student support and turnout at games, and I commend them for that.



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 10/3/15 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.


SPORTS 9/1/15 2:32pm

Wagner presents unique challenge

When Rice University takes the field for the first time this season, it will be against a very unfamiliar opponent.Wagner College, a liberal arts school in Staten Island, New York, will make a trip to Houston on Sept. 5. With an undergraduate population of under 2,000, Wagner is the seventh-smallest school at the Division 1-AA level, the second-highest division of collegiate football and a tier below Rice’s Division 1-A status.Wagner College first began competing in football in 1927, where today they compete in the Northeast Conference. The Seahawks’ home field is Hameline Field at Wagner College Stadium, named in honor of Walt Hameline, the current athletic director who just resigned as head football coach after the 2014 season. Hameline, the 49th-winningest head coach in college football history, compiled 223 wins in 34 seasons as head coach, including winning the 1987 NCAA Division III National Football Championship. Wagner made the move to Division I in 1992.Wagner will now begin its first season since 1981 without Hameline leading the team. First-year Head Coach Jason Houghtaling will take the helm of the program where he previously served as offensive coordinator. Houghtaling has spent seven seasons at Wagner, serving as offensive coordinator during Wagner’s 2012 and 2014 Northeast Conference title runs.During the 2014 season, the Seahawks posted a 7-4 season record including 4-1 in conference play, which placed them in a tie for first, but did not earn a trip to the FCS playoffs. Among their four losses was a 34-3 road defeat at the hands of Conference USA first-year member Florida International University. Rice defeated FIU last season 31-17. Offensively, Wagner returns seven starters from a squad that averaged 20.7 points per game in 2014. Senior quarterback Chris Andrews will lead the offense after throwing for 657 yards and three touchdowns on 42 percent completion percentage. Andrews also possesses dual-threat ability, adding 468 yards and four touchdowns through the ground. Additionally, leading rusher Otis Wright returns after rushing for 598 yards and six touchdowns last season. Wagner was more effective rushing the ball than passing last season, as the rushing attack outgained the passing game 1,767 yards to 1,484. Conversely, Rice rushed for 2,181 yards and passed for 3,009 last season.Defensively, Wagner only returned five of 11 starters from last year’s team which sacrificed 18 points per game. Wagner gave up only 914 yards on the ground last season but allowed 2,180 yards passing. With a defensive unit returning only one defensive back, Rice redshirt senior quarterback Driphus Jackson and the offense may look to capitalize on Wagner’s rebuilding defense.According to Head Coach David Bailiff, Rice cannot overlook Wagner despite their lower-division status.“All we’ve talked about since January is Wagner,” Bailiff said. “We’ve been telling them that it’s the most important game on the schedule and that you can’t overlook them. ... But you listen to the seniors talk and the theme is pretty consistent that we’re not going to overlook these guys.”Bailiff also said he knows Wagner will give their best effort to try and upset a bigger-name program.“This is the first time in 100 straight games that we’re playing a [Division 1-AA] team,” Bailiff said. “That’s one where we know that we’re going to get their best. I used to coach at that level. We used to play the [Texas] A&M’s and I remember how motivated our guys were to make a point. We know that Wagner is going to be challenging for us.”Rice is 7-3 all-time against Division 1-AA opponents. The Owls last played such an opponent in 2007, a 14-16 loss which came at the hands of Nicholls State University. Rice will open its season against Wagner on Saturday, Sept. 5 at 2:30 p.m.  at Rice Stadium.


OPINION 9/1/15 2:31pm

Hoot’s move will damage their revenue

The Hoot seems to be very proud of their new move to the Rice Memorial Center, and at a cursory glance, it makes sense. The hot food will arrive in stages, preventing it from running out in under two hours, as it did far too often last year. The Hoot’s new location will help people at Pub find food, and will also nourish the night owls at Fondren.However, it ignores the incredible convenience the Hoot represented on campus. Prior to this year, both north and south colleges had easily accessed late night food and drink in their nearby servery, but now students must factor in a much greater distance to get food. It may seem like a minor inconvenience to have to walk to the RMC for the Hoot, but I argue the new distance will discourage many students from making the trek.When I first visited Rice during Owl Days, I thought the Hoot was the coolest thing. The college cafeteria turned into a Chick-fil-A at night, just seconds from my dorm room! Over the last two years my opinion has not changed. I cannot count the times I was doing homework in the McMurtry commons and suddenly craved a pizza or chicken sandwich. I practically went into tetra debt from the Hoot’s convenience. The greatest thing about the Hoot was its ability to incite spontaneity.Now, the decision to go to the Hoot will be much more involved. Is the walk to the RMC worth it, especially if I have a lot of work to do? With mobile apps like Postmates and Favor allowing for food to be delivered essentially to your door, it may now become more convenient — and cheaper — to just order food from my phone. I doubt the Hoot’s move will encourage people to work and study near the RMC, since college commons are already too established for the Hoot to create that kind of culture shift.That being said, I completely understand the Hoot’s rationale. Maintaining a profitable food reselling business at two different locations must have been extremely difficult. Without considering how the relocation of the business will affect customer behavior, the move seems to be the most viable economic option. The move will, however, discourage people from going to the Hoot. How that will affect the Hoot’s profitability remains to be seen. I think this move will hurt their sales; I see the inconvenience of the new location strongly discouraging business.


SPORTS 8/27/15 12:42pm

The Fifth Quarter: We are all Rice Owls

For years I have been a proponent of increasing Rice pride. I’ve said it to friends, family and I’ve even used this column to increase awareness of this issue. Rice students are often too focused on schoolwork or the happenings in their residential colleges to realize that we all have something in common: We’re all Owls.The administration seems to agree. Having participated in this year’s Orientation Week, that much was readily apparent. It seemed the administration tried to cultivate a unity within Rice that may have been lacking in the past. During O-Week, it was clear that Rice tried to increase school pride, but at the expense of residential college pride. Seeing it first hand, my attitude toward the issue changed. The two are not mutually exclusive, and the assumption that they are has a negative impact on our college experience.I do and will always stand by my belief that Rice students need more pride in their school. That does not mean, however, that they cannot simultaneously have college pride. With the elimination of cheer battle and the deferral of teaching anti-cheers until the very end of the week, it was clear the administration sought to promote a unified campus focused on inclusivity. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the concept, but the execution was flawed. Events such as Rice Rally during O-Week are fun and effective in cultivating Rice pride, but eliminating other events designated to promote college pride are not helping the issue.Part of the reason many of us came to Rice is the residential college system. Trying to tone down college rivalries and understate the differences between colleges is counter to what Rice has been and should be. We need to protect the college system that makes Rice special. There is no reason college and university pride need to be exclusive. Have pride in your college, but understand what binds us all together. Our colleges are all great, but there is something even greater than that. As Rice students, we are afforded the ability to live in our colleges, obtain a great degree and continue to have a connection to our university. One of the best ways to stay connected to your alma mater is through athletics.When we all graduate, are we going to watch college powderpuff games or Rice football games? Both are great, but a college represents around 400 students while the university represents every Rice student and alum the world over. Love your college and love your university. They are both incredible institutions that need to be preserved and improved. One does not need to improve at the expense of the other.I consider myself both a Rice student and a Murt. The two are not mutually exclusive. Trying to decrease the influence of individual residential colleges to increase Rice spirit is not a solution. It is trying to fix a problem in an ineffective and potentially harmful manner. Go to Rice games. Go to college games. Root for both with spirit and pride. In the end, remember your college and how it acted as your home for four years. But never forget what we all have in common: We are all Rice Owls.The Fifth Quarter is a column written by Sports Editor Evan Neustater. The opinions expressed in the column are solely his own.


SPORTS 8/27/15 12:39pm

Soccer to receive new grandstand

The stadium that, prior to last year, hosted Rice’s soccer and track and field teams was destroyed over the summer, a precursor to the rebuilding of a new $2 million stadium.According to the university, the new stadium will feature 1,500 seats for fans. The seating will include a mix of bleacher and chairback seating, an asset largely missing from the previous stadium. Additionally, the new stadium will have an enclosed press box and facilities for the teams, both improvements over its predecessor. The renovation, which is being fully funded by the university itself, is the next of several stadium improvements Rice has witnessed in recent years. Last year, Rice began construction on the Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center in the north end zone of Rice Stadium. Additionally, the new George R. Brown tennis complex finished construction last year and Tudor Fieldhouse underwent renovations in 2014.The new stadium will replace the previous stadium which served for nearly 50 years. Built in 1966 on the original site of Rice Stadium, which moved to its current location in 1950, the Ley Stadium was deemed unsafe last season and spectators and athletes alike were forced to avoid using its facilities. For the entirety of the 2015 soccer season, fans will be seated in temporary bleachers and standing room. The new stadium will be designed by Jackson & Ryan Architects and is expected to be completed in January 2016. Athletics could not be reached for comments.