Rice 52, Louisiana Tech 14
Nov. 16, 2013
Final Stats |
Charles Ross ran for five scores to tie the Conference USA record, and became the seventh Owl to rush for 1,000 yards in a season with a career-best 215 to lead the Rice Owls to an emotional 52-14 Homecoming victory over Louisiana Tech at Rice Stadium.
Rice rebounded from a loss at North Texas on Halloween Night in dominating fashion, setting season highs for both rushing yards (415) and total offense (582). The win moved Rice back into a tie with North Texas in the C-USA West race with the just two weeks remaining in the season, but more importantly, it allowed the Owls to honor their head coach in the best way they knew how.
They hit the field for the first time in November with heavy hearts, as their week of preparation was tempered with the knowledge that Bailiff's father, Bob, who has been a fixture at Rice games over the past seven seasons, had passed away on Tuesday night. Having taken full advantage of the two week break to mend many of the bumps and bruises that had accumulated through the first nine games, they responded with a defining effort in front of 19,707 fans.
Ironically, on a night that would see them dominate on the ground, the Owls took to the air on their opening series to take an early lead.
Taylor McHargue three on three of the four plays it took the Owls to march 66 yards, the final 41 coming on a spectacular catch and run by Dennis Parks, who slipped out of the grasp of several Bulldog defenders.
Louisiana Tech seemed poised to quickly answer, driving 70 yards in seven plays to the Rice five, but Cody Bauer broke through the line to down Bulldog quarterback Paul Harris for an eight yard loss while stripping the ball away. Christian Covington scooped up the loose ball to end the threat.
Rice then turned to Ross to shoulder the load, and the senior from Schertz responded. After gaining four on his first carry, the blasted free on a 48-yard run to move the ball to midfield. Later in the drive, McHargue lost control of the ball at the La Tech 18 and the Bulldogs' Daniel Cobb picked up and began to move up field. But Donte Moore stripped the ball loose and Nate Richards recovered.
Seven plays later, Ross barged in from two yards out to make it 14-0.
The Rice defense stiffened after La Tech's opening offensive incursion, allowing the Bulldogs only 83 yards the remainder of the first half, while the Rice offense added 10 more points on a 30-yard Chris Boswell field goal and five-yard scoring jaunt by Ross.
The 24-0 lead at halftime marked the first time the Owls had held an opponent scoreless in the first half since they led Tulane 10-0 in 2011.
Bauer made certain that Tech would not grab any momentum when the Bulldogs received the second half kickoff. The senior from Pottsboro stopped Tevin King for a combined loss of seven yards on the first two plays and then for a gain of five on third down to force a punt. Rice then marched 75 yards in 14 plays to extend its lead to 31-0.