After a lone meeting in 1966 at Rice Stadium that is better remembered now as the collegiate debut of the future head of the "Duck Dynasty" Robertson family, Phil Robertson at quarterback, Rice and Louisiana Tech first began a regular series in 2001 when the Bulldogs joined the WAC.
After splitting games at their own stadiums the first two years, Rice broke through with the first road win with a dominating demonstration of Ken Hatfield's option offense in the final game of the 2003 season.
Robbie Beck ran for three touchdowns as Rice totaled a school- and conference-record 692 rushing yards to beat Louisiana Tech 49-14, ending the year with three consecutive wins to finish 5-7 overall and 5-3 in the WAC.
Rice kept to the running game and had three players with over 100 yards rushing. Thomas Lott led with 127 yards on 11 carries, quarterback Kyle Herm had 115 yards on 17 carries and Beck 108 on 13 tries.
The big rushing day easily eclipsed the Rice
single-game recorded of 515 yards against Arkansas in 1953. The previous
Western Athletic Conference record was 646 yards by Air Force against New
Mexico in 1987.
Rice also set school single-game records with 733 total yards and 35 first downs.
Beck scored Rice's first two TD runs -- one from six-yards out and the other from 12 -- in the opening four minutes of the first quarter.
Herm tacked on a 12-yard TD run to give Rice a 21-0 lead going into the second quarter. Herm was two-of-three for 42 passing yards. The Rice Owls (5-7, 5-3 WAC) led 28-7 at halftime.
Beck's third touchdown came in the third quarter. He scored on a 14-yard rush that gave Rice a 35-7 lead with 10:54 left in the quarter.
Also scoring for Rice were Ed Bailey, Jordan Kramer and Marcus Rucker, all on runs. Bailey scored on a one-yard rush in the opening minutes of the second quarter and Kramer scored a one-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Rucker took in a 39-yarder with 9:56 left in the game.
Louisiana Tech quarterback Luke McCown, who had led the Bulldogs to a come-from-behind win at Michigan State earlier in the season, was 18-of-30 for 242 passing yards and no interceptions.
Both Louisiana Tech touchdowns came off of McCown throws: a
38-yard pass to Ryan Moats with 11:27 left before halftime and a nine-yard pass
to Chris Norwood with 3:05 left in the third.
The Bulldogs (5-7, 3-5) had 344 passing yards and 97 yards on the ground. Moats ran for 37 yards on 11 carries and gained 88 yards on seven catches.