Sept. 15, 2012
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech started fast and never looked back, taking a 56-37 home win over the visiting Rice Owls Saturday night at Aillet Stadium in Ruston, La.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 21-0 advantage and then traded points with the Owls the rest of the way to remain unbeaten and top 50 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1910.
Rice head coach David Bailiff said the dramatic last-second win over Kansas the previous week may have had a lingering impact on preparations for Tech.
"I did not get them over that Kansas win," Bailiff said. "We were flat at the start and really could never get it going consistently defensively. The offense showed some sparks, but it was never consistent enough to beat a team. There are going to be lessons learned. I look forward to watching this video tomorrow. It is great when you score 37, but we have a hurt locker room. These young men want to win," Bailiff added. "
Junior quarterback Taylor McHargue and junior running back Charles Ross provided most of the firepower for the Owls, who finished the day night with a season-best 477 yards of total offense.
McHargue finished with 298 yards of total offense, throwing for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns and rushing for three more scores in addition to totaling 93 yards on the ground. Ross rushed for a career-best 116 yards on 14 carries and added 18 more on his first career touchdown reception.
Junior placekicker Chris Boswell added another school record to his collection when he connected on a 57-yard field goal just before halftime. The kick tied James Hamrick's school record for the longest field goal and it allowed Boswell to move past Hamrick into sole possession of the Rice career field goal mark with 34.
It was also Boswell's seventh career field goal of 50 yards or longer (also a school record), moving him into a tie with Clayton Sturgis of Florida for the most from that distance among active kickers. Boswell is the only one of the top ten active kickers on the list who is not a senior.
The Owls are now 1-2 on the young season, with the losses coming at the hands of a pair of unbeatens: UCLA which moved to 3-0 with a 37-6 win over Houston late Saturday night, and the Bulldogs, who opened their season with a 56-49 win over the Cougars last weekend.
The Owls return home next Saturday to open their 2012 Conference USA campaign when they host the Marshall Thundering Herd at 2:30, which national coverage courtesy of Comcast Sports.
"Next week, our focus changes," Bailiff stated. "All the lessons learned these first three games are over, and we need to play our best football game of the year against Marshall.
"We have some pretty lofty goals that we are going to have to bear down to achieve them," Bailiff said. "They know it and I know it."