Power Outage - Horns Overwhelm Owls

The Rice Owls had plenty of disruptions and distractions last week in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. They got little sympathy from the Texas Longhorns Saturday, who beat the weary Owls 52-10 in Austin...

You can't blame Rice if they didn't play their best football Saturday night in Austin. The team showed all the indicators of a group that had been put through the ringer. Both before the game started, and after their blowout loss to Mack Brown's Longhorns Saturday night at DKR-Memorial Stadium.

Texas proved to be way too much for Rice as Colt McCoy threw four touchdown passes, setting the Texas career record in the process, on the way to a 52-10 win over Rice on Saturday night.

McCoy finished with 329 yards passing and led the Longhorns (3-0) in rushing for the second time this season with 83 yards on eight carries. Jordan Shipley caught five passes for 155 yards and touchdowns of 30 and 60 yards in the first half for Texas.

Even without a week of interruptions that included a delayed return from Vanderbilt, loss of power back in Houston, and various other inconveniences, the Owls would have had to have played a near perfect game to beat Texas at home. They weren't, and just like the power situation back home in Houston, the bright spots were few for Rice.

Jarett Dillard had 9 catches for 158 yards receiving. He had probably his best game of the year against the Horns. He and QB Chase Clement hooked up on their 38th touchdown. But that and Clark Fangmeier's 1st Quarter field goal were the only Rice points on the night in spite of Chase's 30-for-48 performance.

The Owl Offense had a tough time against the very fast, very physical Horn Defense - particularly ib the red zone. Rice drove inside the Texas 30 three times in the first half. Late in the second quarter, the Owls got to the Texas 2 and took 11 snaps - Texas was twice called for pass interference in the end zone - but couldn't get it across the goal line, including a final incompletion on fourth down. This would be the way things would go for the Owls all night. Rice managed an awful 0.7 yards per attempt running against UT.

The Rice Defense, suddenly finding itself full of fresh faces for the second straight year didn't fare any better - the Owls gave up 600 yards of Offense Saturday night. In a good news/bad news scenario Andrew Sendejo had 17 tackles (he will need Advil more than anyone, even today). Gaining experience at least, Owl freshman John Gioffre logged 4 tackles. Arnaud Gascon-Nadon and Justin Hill also logged tackles.

Also, Owl Special Teams converted on its lone field goal attempt, didn't give up any big returns, and averaged over 40 yards an attempt in punting (Chase had a 45 yarder, out at the 1) - all steps towards improvement.

No doubt, the best thing about Saturday's game is that its over. The Owls will regroup this week and can look forward to another home game for the first time in a month when they host North Texas at Rice Stadium this weekend.


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