Jess Neely's first bowl team in 1946 was dominated by a senior class who had faced far greater foes than anyone they would meet on a football field. The impact of their maturity and leadership was not lost on a group of freshmen, who three years later would lead Rice to its greatest season and a date against North Carolina in the Cotton Bowl.
Seniors such as All America Froggy Williams and quarterback Tobin Rote had learned their lessons well and settled many scores during their last season on South Main. While most recall Williams' singular career field goal to beat Texas as time ran out as the pivotal moment of the year, the wild win over SMU in Dallas, defeating reigning Heisman winner Doak Walker in the process was the game the players on the team held especially close to their hearts.
As a reward for the only undefeated conference season in school history, the Owls were presented with a date in Dallas where they once again would face one of the iconic players of his age in North Carolina's Charley Choo Choo Justice.
Unlike their first Cotton Bowl, in which the Owls spotted the opposition a pair of quick scores before racing to a win, Rote and Williams, along with running back Billy Burkhalter, wasted little time and left no room for drama when they took the field against the Tar Heels.
Rote threw for two scores, one each to Williams and Burkhalter, who later added a 12-yard scoring run. Justice could only find success after the Owls had staked out a 27-0 lead, cutting the final margin to 27-14 with a pair of late touchdowns.
The win was the Owls 10th against one lone loss, a 14-7 setback at LSU in the season's second week. They would rise to fifth in the final AP poll and their impact on the sports fans of the Gulf Coast was so profound, that the effort to jump start the construction of a new stadium was oversold and construction began immediately.
Rice and LSU Return to the Gridiron in 2018
01/07/2016 - Rice and LSU, two schools whose annual September meeting was a Gulf Coast staple for over 50 years, will return to the gridiron for the first time...
Boswell Named AFC Special Team Player of the Month
01/07/2016 - Former Rice standout Chris Boswell, who has smashed team rookie kicking records after joining the Pittsburgh Steelers in October, was named the...
Phil Steele Honors Reue, Lyons and Farrimond
12/17/2015 - Andrew Reue, Alex Lyons and James Farrimond have been named to Phil Steele’s 2015 Postseason All Conference USA squad which was announced on ...
C-USA Names Four Owls to All-Freshman Team
12/08/2015 - First year players Justin Bickham, Parker Smith, Samuel Stewart and Austin Walter have been named to the 2015 C-USA Football All-Freshman team as...
Reue Named All C-USA
12/08/2015 - Senior offensive lineman Andrew Reue, who started at four different positions along the offensive line for the Owls this season, has been named to ...
Dillard Named to C-USA All-Academic Team
12/03/2015 - Rice junior running back Darik Dillard, who lead the Owls in rushing in 2015 in addition to setting an NCAA record for career combined touchdowns...
Brigance to Receive NCAA 2016 NCAA Inspiration ...
12/01/2015 - Former student-athletes Lauren Hill and O.J. Brigance are the 2016 NCAA Inspiration Award recipients. They will be recognized as Inspiration...
Second Half Surge Sends Seniors Out With Win
11/28/2015 - With 30 minutes remaining in their college careers, faced with a scoreless first half and the prospect of ending the season with five consecutive...
- Top Videos /
- Online Store