With the latest edition of the Bayou Bucket set for this Saturday at Rice Stadium, the R Blog will spend this week looking back at some of the Owls' memorable moments in the series with the Cougars since it began in 1971.
In our sixth installment, we take a look at the game that clinched a share of the Southwest Conference crown for Rice.
November 26, 1994
Rice 31, Houston 13
Ken Hatfield came to Rice with a reputation for success, but few Rice fans would have allowed themselves to believe the scenario that was unfolding as they filed into the Astrodome for their annual showdown with Houston for the Bayou Bucket.
Beating Texas on national television earlier in the year was an event for the ages, but now the Owls found themselves on the cusp of grabbing a share of the Southwest Conference title, something they had not savored since the 1950's. All that was required was to do something they had never done, defeat the Cougars in consecutive years. And all they were doing was ask a true freshman quarterback making on his second career start to lead the charge.
Chad Nelson might have been new to Rice, but the playing field of the Astrodome was as familiar as his neighbor's backyard. One year earlier, he had led Lewisville High to a state title on the same field, so he was more than ready to take the reigns of the Hatfield's option attack and lead them through uncharted waters.
With the score knotted at seven late in the second quarter, he race in from 10-yards out to give Rice a lead it would never relinquish. Early in the third, he hit Jeff Venghaus on a 23-yard TD pass to extend the lead to 21-7.
Nelson finished with 109 yards rushing and the Owls defense held the Cougars to just one second half score.