CoogFans' Rice update

Rice was supposed to compete for a bowl game, but after loses to Southern Methodist and UTEP, the Owls are 1-5 and have very, very little chance to reach that coveted six win mark.

Rice Owls
Conference USA

  2010 Record: (1-5, 0-2)
2009 Record: (2-10, 2-6)
2009 Bowl: none
Coach: David Bailiff (16-27 at Rice, 37-42 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: David Beaty
Defensive Coordinator: Chuck Driesbach

  Current Leaders
Rushing: Sam McGuffie, RB, 336 yards
Passing: Nick Fanuzzi, QB, 1,104 yards
Receiving: Sam McGuffie, RB, 230 yards
Tackles: Corey Frazier, LB, 43
Sacks: Kramer Lucio, DE, 2.0
Interceptions: Corey Frazier, LB; 1 Chris Jammer, CB, 1

  Other Key Players: S Travis Bradshaw, LB Trey Briggs, CB Philip Gaines, LB Justin Hill, S Chris Jones, QB Tyler McHargue, OT Scott Mitchell, WR Donte Moore, DE Cheta Ozougwu, OT Tyler Parish, RB Tyler Smith

  Rice was supposed to compete for a bowl game, but after loses to Southern Methodist and UTEP, the Owls are 1-5 and have very, very little chance to reach that coveted six win mark. In fact, they may be lucky to win another game at all the way things are going for Coach David Bailiff right now.

  Strengths:
The good news is that the offense is improving, albeit slowly. Quarterback Nick Fanuzzi was supposed to split time with freshman Taylor McHargue, but McHargue suffered a shoulder injury in week two and has been slow to come back. Last week Fanuzzi showed promise against UTEP, throwing for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Considering he only threw for one score and six interceptions prior to that game, it can certainly be called progress. One reason why Fanuzzi was relatively successful in that game is because the offensive line actually did a decent job and the quarterback was only sacked once. UTEP is not a great pass rushing team, but now the Owls at least have some confidence in their offensive line. That should be good news for running back, and leading receiver, Sam McGuffie too. The Michigan transfer was supposed to be the dynamic playmaker that would turn this team around. Instead, his longest run has been 15 yards. However, he did catch a 51 yard touchdown pass for a touchdown and has occasionally displayed the skills that made him a YouTube sensation in high school. Tyler Smith is not a bad running back either and he has been the more explosive back who can break the big run. Add touchdown vulture Charles Ross to the mix and the running back situation is not a bad one.

  Weaknesses:
One of the many problems Rice has had this season is getting behind early. Against UTEP they actually scored a touchdown in the first quarter and took the lead. It only lasted three minutes before the Miners tied the game up and another 50 seconds before they took the lead for good. After that Rice was yet again left to flounder and try to pick up some scores in the fourth quarter to make the game not look as bad as it really was. As big of an issue the offensive line has been, the defensive line might be bigger. The offense has the weapons to score a few points here and there even if the line is struggling. The defense does not have that luxury and Rice's inability to get any pressure on the opposing quarterback has turned this into one of the worst defenses in the NCAA. In the pass happy C-USA, getting pressure on the quarterback is a must. Even the 3-3-5 alignment does nothing to help. One bright spot is the play of sophomore Corey Frazier who took over the starting spot at the KAT linebacker/safety position. His emergence allowed Travis Bradshaw to move to safety to give the secondary some more help. Yet, if seniors Cheta Ozougwu and Kramer Lucio cannot get consistent pressure from the ends, it does not matter how experienced the secondary may be.

  The Bottom Line: The injury to McHargue has not helped the offense, but the hype around players like McGuffie and the return of so many linemen gave this team false hope. The line is a year older, but it is still the same line that last year paved the way for the Owls to score a mere 19.3 points per game in conference play. The defense allowed 43.1 points per game last year and through six games this season have given up 35.17 points per game. That is not a big enough improvement to expand on their two wins last season.

  2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 105.5 (99th in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 224.67 (58, 7)
Total Offense: 330.17 (90, 9)
Scoring Offense: 21.67 (86, 8)
Rushing Defense: 148.33 (59, 6)
Pass Defense: 290.17 (117, 11)
Total Defense: 438.50 (109, 11)
Scoring Defense: 35.17 (105, 9)
Turnover Margin: -.67 (97, 8)
Sacks: 1.00 (106, 11)
Sacks Allowed: 2.33 (82, 9)

  2010 Results:
September 4th vs. Texas: 17-34
September 11th at North Texas: 32-31
September 18th vs. Northwestern: 13-30
September 25th vs. Baylor: 13-30
October 2nd vs. Southern Methodist: 31-42
October 9th at UTEP: 24-44

 


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