Rice's magical run at the end of the 1957 season could not be sustained when the calendar turned to 1958 and the Navy sank the Owls hopes of winning a fifth consecutive bowl game with a 20-7 win the Cotton Bowl .
After a 3-3 start, the Owls began a spirited run through the last four games of their schedule, shocking #1 Texas A&M at Rice Stadium, then blanking TCU and Baylor by identical 20-0 scores to claim Jess Neely's final Southwest Conference title. Led by the quarterbacking duo of Frank Ryan and King Hill, who took full advantage of All-American wide receiver Buddy Dial's formidable gifts to earn a trip north, the Owls were out-dueled in Dallas by Navy's Tom Forrestal and stymied by a Navy defense that forced five fumbles.
Rice's only touchdown came on an eight-yard pass from Ryan to Ken Williams.
Despite four losses, the Owls late-season run was so impressive that they finished the year ranked No. 7 ranking by UPI, No. 8 by AP.
Hill was an All-America quarterback and a few months later would be taken with the first overall selection in the NFL Draft.