Tonight's game against SMU began the 97th season of Rice football. It marks the third straight season that the Owls have opened at Rice Stadium and the second time in the last three seasons they have faced a Conference USA opponent.
The August 29th opener is the earliest date in school history for the Owls to open a football season. In 2002, Rice and Houston battled for the Bayou Bucket on August 30th.
Rice improves to 55-40-2 in season openers. The last time the Owls won a season-opener was against Houston at Reliant Stadium in 2004.
Rice and SMU met for the 86th time on the gridiron in a series that dates back to the 1916 season. The Owls have won all three meetings as C-USA rivals. It's also the 11th time that the Lone Star state rivals have met for the Mayor's Cup. Rice is 9-3 in those games.
The 56 points are the second-most points that Rice has scored in a season-opener. The Owls amassed 57 points to open the 1944 season against Galveston Army-Air Force. Jess Neely was Rice's head coach.
It was the 14th time in program history that the Owls passed the 50-point mark. Rice emerged with a 56-48 victory against UTEP last season.
The 29-point margin of victory was Rice's highest since a 44-10 triumph against SMU in 2004.
Rice racked up 209 yards rushing on 44 carries. The Owls season-high in 2007 was 169 yards on 41 carries at Southern Miss (Oct. 3).
The Rice defense limited SMU to 337 total yards. The Owls season-low in 2007 was 281 yards against Nicholls State (Sept. 1).
The Owls struck for back-to-back touchdowns in a span of 52 seconds to conclude the first quarter. The scoring plays turned a 13-0 deficit into a 14-13 lead.
Quarterback Chase Clement matched a career-best and a Conference USA single-game record by throwing six touchdown passes. Clement also fired six scoring strikes against UTEP (Nov. 3, 2007). Lester Richard (Tulane) and Chris Redman (Louisville) share the C-USA mark.
Clement has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 11 consecutive games overall and in 17 straight C-USA games. The Alamo Heights product also has tossed at least two touchdowns in nine consecutive games.
Over his last five home games, Clement has an impressive 23-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The senior signal caller had his streak of five consecutive
300-yard passing games come to a close.
Wide receiver Jarett Dillard extends his streak to 37 consecutive games with at least two receptions. He also hauled in a trio of touchdown passes moving him into a third place tie on the all-time list with Aaron Turner (Pacific, 1989-92). Dillard now has 43 career TD receptions.
The three touchdown receptions for Dillard matched his single-game record. He caught three TD passes against Army (2005), UAB (2005), Tulsa (2005), SMU (2006) and Memphis (2007).