A Blog devoted to all things SWC, the greatest college athletic conference. Updated weekly with the SWC Game of the Week during football season. Other relevant SWC News will appear from time to time as well.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

SWC Game of the Week: Rice at Tulsa

Rice, the new football power in the Southwest, is again featured on SWC Game of the Week. This week they will take on Tulsa in Oklahoma. If you remember your Rice football history, Tulsa’s coach, Todd Graham coached at Rice for one season, and took them to a bowl game. He then left for Tulsa, and has since been referred to as a certain type of bag you might not want to be associated with by the MOB (Marching Owl Band.) This of course upset the Tulsa folks to no end, they just don’t talk like that in Tulsa, or smoke pot, wait that’s Muskogee. Well, back to the games, Tulsa beat Rice last year, so the Owls didn’t quite get their revenge. They have since replaced the turf in Rice Stadium, completely separating themselves from the Todd Graham era and the new coach, David Bailiff has his Owls playing good football and on the prowl for another bowl. So, that brings us to this week and the re-match for revenge.

Rice, 3-2, played perhaps the perfect game last week against North Texas and look to extend their near flawless execution this week in Tulsa. QB Chase Clement connected with WR Jared Dillard for 3 touchdowns, raising their career mark for scoring hook-ups to 41 and setting the national record for scoring duos. Dillard finished the night with 4 touchdown receptions, a school and CUSA record, and tied Troy Edwards with 50 career touchdown receptions, a NCAA record. Dillard is one to watch and should play on the next level. He’s even writing a diary on the NY Times The Quad Blog. Rice’s 77 points were the most since they scored 57 against Galveston Air Force Base in 1944 in a 57-0 victory but fell short of the school record, set in 1916 in a 146-3 victory over SMU. (Galveston Air Force Base?) Rice scored touchdowns on its first six possessions. "That's the best I've seen us since I've been here. It was good to get it going, and it's something we need to keep building on going into Tulsa. That's something we need to carry over knowing that we've got something special going, “ said QB Chase Clements. On defense Rice’s senior LB Brian Raines practiced with the team and will see action against Tulsa. The defense was a bit sloppy in the opening quarter of play, missing tackles and that is a concern going into the Tulsa game. Rice leads the all time series with Tulsa 7-5-1, although Tulsa won the game last year at Rice Stadium 48-43.

Stopping Tulsa’s (4-0) offense will be a challenge. Tulsa has scored 50+ points in their last three games, the first time they have accomplished this since the 1920 season. Senior QB David Johnson leads the nation in two categories, passing efficiency and points responsible for per game (30.0). With 376.2 yards passing a game, Johnson ranks third in the country and has completed a Colt McCoy like 74% of his passes. Who is he throwing the ball to, well last week both Slick Shelly (all name team) and Damaris Johnson both had over 100 yards receiving. Tarrion Adams rushed for 120 yards on 13 carries last week to cover the ground game. Tulsa’s defense is a young unit, but they will be helped by the return of junior safety Charles Davis from injury. He recorded 5 tackles, two interceptions and a blocked punt last week against New Mexico. This week is Tulsa’s homecoming, “Homecoming 2008 … Take me Back to Tulsa” and Rice would like nothing more than to spoil it. With Rice, Tulsa, and Houston’s surprise win last week, this game could go a long way to deciding the CUSA Western Division.

Bill Wallace, a Rice Owl from 1932, 1934-35 was another of the era’s great two way players. The Eagle Lake High School Grad was an exceptional ball carrier, passer, punter and safety on the defensive side of the ball. He also was a sprinter and hurdler on the track team. Since this first sentence can not be replicated in any form, and I’m not even sure I understand the rest of it either, this week we will just quote from the College Football Hall of Fame website:

“In the 1934 Texas game without once demonstrating his famous high-knee broken-field tornado technique, he showed how well he deserved the highest honors. Three times he placed punts dead at the goal line, one from 70 yards out. Twice he punted out of bounds inside the ten-yard line. Time after time he circled to the left drawing the Texas secondary out of position. Then, with only three minutes to go and Texas in the lead he circled left again, but instead of advancing, he faded and threw a long left-handed pass far across the field. End Ray Smith, with no opposition in sight, grabbed the pass and crossed the goal line, putting Rice ahead. After an interception, Rice scored again as the game ended, but Wallace wasn't through yet. A fan tried to make off with the ball from the point-after kick. Wallace flew after him, blocked by 20 or 30 fans. Bill sent them sprawling and returned to the field with the victory pigskin. Wallace was also Rice's initial first team All-America selection.”

Florida at Arkansas (Florida should roll in a rebound game for them)
OU at Baylor (SWC Game of the Week Upset Special!)
SMU at UCF (SMU tries to play a complete game for the first time this year)
Texas at Colorado (Does the Hippie Highway still run through Boulder on the way to Austin?)
Texas A&M at OK State (Aggies don’t’ know who will play QB, and that’s just the beginning of the problems)
San Diego State at TCU (TCU tries to get back on track in CUSA play after OU debacle)
Texas Tech at Kansas State (Tech hopes to have all things ironed out after off week, plus they play a team we’ve heard of this week)

SWC Game of the Week:
OU 35 TCU 10 (TCU not ready for prime time)

Other Games:
Houston 41 East Carolina 24 (Huge win for the Coogs on the road to start CUSA action)
Rice 77 North Texas 20 (Rice rolls, highest point total in CUSA history)
Tulane 34 SMU 27 (SMU can’t overcome 1st half mistakes)
Texas A&M 21 Army 17 (If Army doesn’t fumble at the end of the 1st half, they win this one.)
Texas 52 Arkansas 10 (Texas rolls over historic rival)

Conference: Overall:
Texas 2 0 4 0
TCU 1 0 4 1
Texas Tech 0 0 4 0
Rice 1 1 3 2
Arkansas: 0 1 2 2
Baylor 0 0 2 2
Houston 0 0 2 3
Texas A&M 0 0 2 2
SMU 0 2 1 4

Read about the MOB, Rice’s version of halftime entertainment.

This week is an upset special week. You’ve seen the Baylor vs. OU SWC Game of the Week Upset Special Alert above, but other teams could be vulnerable as well. Rice is very capable of beating Tulsa on the road and grabbing control of the CUSA Western Division. Texas has a tough game on the road vs. Colorado and they have to contend with that OU match-up looming large next week. Texas Tech has not been tested this season so far, and will have to travel for it’s first Big 12 game at Kansas State. And finally, the Aggies, if they win another, it will be an upset. Enjoy the games this week and watch for the national upset trend to strike the SWC.

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