"I'm letting the plays work for me now instead of trying to do it," says Ray. By giving his linemen time to open up that hole, Ray has found that daylight can peak through the storm. As he is learning more, he still finds some moments when he wished he could have hit a certain lane and he goes back to study it. He's making sure to develop his skills under the tutelage of fellow backfield mate Brian Leonard. They have made it their goal to do whatever it takes to win regardless of who is getting the carries and they couldn't be happier sharing this goal.
Brian came back to win a bowl game and that is exactly what his playing and leadership have indicated this season as he has been the lead blocker for Ray on many carries that have put Rutgers in many an advantageous position.
Playing at home is something that always gets him pumped. That feeling has been amplified by the loud cheers he has received mostly emanating from the student section as the chants "Rice is Nice" can be heard following a big run. But for Ray when he gets set in the backfield, he focuses in.
"Everybody sounds so far away because you're in the zone. But when it's all said and done and you're winning the game, you hear everything and it feels good to have that home crowd and know they are behind you," stated Rice.
Long gone are the days when students could sit in their own personal section. Now fans are arriving in their seats an hour and a half in advance trying to get those closest to the field. They come in fired up and they want to get their team fired up and you can believe that this team is feeding off that emotion.
Rice knows that as the season wears on each game gets harder to prepare for and the Illinois game was no exception. Added to his rushing attempts this week was a passing attempt. It was an opportunity for a little bit of trickery, but the Illinois defenders read the play and he was forced to throw the ball away.
"I wish I had a completion, but I'm going to keep working on it," said Rice as he recalled the play. It was a nicely thrown spiral but unfortunately it didn't find the intended receiver.
Well, a new week and a new opponent await, and maybe another chance for Ray to get that touchdown pass he's working towards.