Post Mortem: 2013 Rice Owls

T. McHargue169324234517
L. Turner341003
C. Ross21112806.115
J. Davis954765.03
J. Taylor5584815.48
D. Parks2950817.53

When you win your first conference title since 1957 it's kind of a big deal. The Rice Owls had a memorable 2013.

Let's dissect it a bit.

We said early on that Rice might not lose after October 5th, we were wrong. They only lost once in the regular season after September 21st. The Owls went 9-1 in that stretch including a Conference USA title game win over Marshall.

Let's ignore the bookend losses to SEC squads Texas A&M and Mississippi State, two games that Rice wasn't going to win, and focus on the tangible. Rice had its greatest season in almost 50 years and that includes a loss to Houston in the Bayou Bucket that could have easily gone the other way.

Rice hoisted the C-USA trophy after not so much dominating the league but instead gutting out wins including a close wins over FAU, Tulsa, UTSA, UAB, and Tulane. The Owls won those by a combined 20 points. Mixed in were a loss to UNT and blowouts over UTEP and Louisiana Tech. Still Rice showed it could win close games a valuable skill in today's college football landscape.

2013 Rice Owls Football Schedule

Final Record: 10-4, 7-1 (C-USA)
Date   Opponent Results
Aug. 31
Aggies at Texas A&M Aggies
Kyle Field
Lost 52-31
Sept. 7
--- Open Date ---
Sept. 14
Jayhawks Kansas Jayhawks
Rice Stadium
Won 23-14
Sept. 21
Cougars Houston Cougars
Reliant Stadium
Lost 31-26
Sept. 28
Owls Florida Atlantic Owls
Rice Stadium
Won 18-14
Oct. 5
Hurricanes at Tulsa Golden Hurricane
H.A. Chapman Stadium
Won 30-27
Oct. 12
Roadrunners at UTSA Roadrunners
Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Won 27-21
Oct. 19
Aggies at New Mexico State Aggies
Aggie Memorial Stadium
Won 45-19
Oct. 26
Miners UTEP Miners
Rice Stadium
Won 45-7
Oct. 31
Mean Green at North Texas Mean Green
Apogee Stadium
Lost 28-16
Nov. 9
--- Open Date ---
Nov. 16
Bulldogs Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (HC)
Rice Stadium
Won 52-14
Nov. 21
Blazers at UAB Blazers
Legion Field
Won 37-34
Nov. 30
Green Wave Tulane Green Wave
Rice Stadium
Won 17-13
2013 C-USA Championship Game
Dec. 7
Thundering Herd Marshall Thundering Herd
Rice Stadium
Won 41-24
2013 AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Dec. 31
Bulldogs Mississippi State Bulldogs
Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Lost 44-7
Big. Fast. Effective.

Big. Fast. Effective.

What Went Right...

These Owls run.

The Rice offensive approach would have made Ken Hatfield proud. Rice led C-USA in rushing at over 220 yards a game and almost 50 attempts. The Owls rushing attack was a multi-headed beast led by Charles Ross and freshman Jawon Davis. Darik Dillard and Turner Peters each carried the groceries for over 200 yards in 2013.

Everybody Kut, Everybody Kut.

Big impact from Kutzler.

Big impact from Kutzler.

Michael Kutlzer went from possible starter to star in 2013. The junior linebacker led the owls with 96 stops including 7 tackles for loss. Kutzler also had 2 sacks and a pick six.

Turner Peterson is a Swiss Army knife.

The Bud is crazy about jack of all trade players, aka "Swiss Army Knives." Turner Peterson is listed as a tight end on the C-USA All Conference Team. I doubt he lined up at tight end much. College Football Stats lists him as a running back. That's closer to the truth. Turner Peterson's position should be listed as SAK, because our guy played tailback, wide receiver, H-back, fullback, and quarterback. Peterson had 26 catches, 262 yards rushing, threw three touchdown passes, and was a lead blocker in goal line packages when he wasn't attempting a jump pass.

What Went Wrong...

Right of hand we'd say not much but...

The Owls needed more at QB.

We appreciate their buddy. We really do.

We appreciate their buddy. We really do.

The Bud loves Taylor McHargue, he was gritty and gutty and what not. What he wasn't was efficient at the quarterback position. The Owls could have used a better than 52% passer this season. His TD to Int ratio wasn't bad, but it was fairly average. McHargue had a knack for making plays when needed, the Bud just wishes there was more efficiency out of the position.

What's bizarre about McHargue's stat line is that he was actually better throwing the football in losses than in Rice wins, completing passes at a much higher percentage in losses.

3rd Down Issues.

The Owls were middle of the road in 3rd down conversions. In losses Rice was on the shoulder, out of gas, with a flat. Against North Texas for example the Owls converted only 15% of their third down attempts. That's a recipe for defeat.

Help Wanted...

The Owls have upgraded their talent level in recent years. The size difference between the Owls and the big boys isn't what it once was. They've added beef up front and skill outside. Coach Bailiff has a great reputation around the state and players are responding.

School, Hometown
Video HT/ WT/ 40 Commit DateSigned LOI? Commit School
S NR V.J. Banks
(Bryan HS)
Bryan, TX
6-1/175 08/14/2013
RB 92 Samuel Stewart
(Cypress Woods HS)
Cypress, TX
6-0/200 07/26/2013
QB 93 Jeremy Jones
(East Central HS)
San Antonio, TX
6-6/195 07/26/2013
OLB NR Emmanuel Ellerbee
(Strake Jesuit College Prep)
Houston, TX
6-2/210 07/26/2013
OLB 137 Martin Nwakamma
(Leander HS)
Leander, TX
6-1.5/205 07/25/2013
S 120 Destri White
(Horn HS)
Mesquite, TX
6-0/180 07/19/2013
S NR J.T. Ibe
(Mansfield HS)
Mansfield, TX
5-11/170 07/17/2013
DT NR Preston Gordon
(Heritage High School)
Frisco, TX
6-0/250 07/08/2013
WR NR Lance Wright
(North Pole HS)
North Pole, AK
6-3/190 06/25/2013
WR NR James Mayden
(Sachse HS)
Sachse, TX
6-2/175 06/25/2013
OT 135 Calvin Anderson
(Westlake HS)
Austin, TX
6-6/240 06/14/2013
C NR Cory Klingler
(New Caney HS)
New Caney, TX
6-4/285 06/06/2013
OLB 143 Trevor Long
(East Bernard HS)
East Bernard, TX
6-5/205 05/29/2013
OT 127 Sam Pierce
(St. Pius X HS)
Houston, TX
6-5/290 04/25/2013
WR 200 Aston Walter
(Crosby HS)
Crosby, TX
5-8/185 04/16/2013
RB 120 Austin Walter
(Crosby HS)
Crosby, TX
5-8/180 04/16/2013
OT NR Hunter Ponder
(Mansfield HS)
Mansfield, TX
6-6/250/5.00 03/22/2013
CB 143 Jorian Clark
(Horn HS)
Mesquite, TX
5-9/175 03/19/2013

Austin and Astin Walter brothers stand out right off the bat. They put up Nintendo numbers at Crosby this year. Austin had 2600 rushing yards and over 30 rushing touchdowns. Astin threw for 2300 yards and 31 touchdowns plus ran for another 900 yards. I'm sure Bailiff and his staff can figure out some use for those two.

The Walters brothers should be fun to watch.

The Walters brothers should be fun to watch.

Samuel Stewart out of Cy Woods could be the next big back in the mold of a Charles Ross.

Jeremy Jones is a 6-6 quarterback out of East Central in San Antonio who has offers from the likes of Air Force, Rutgers and UNT. He's also a dead ringer for Dookie from the Wire.

There are three lineman in this class so far and there should be more added. Bailiff and the Owls have followed the lead of the likes of Stanford and Vandy in their pursuit of smart, big guys who enjoy mashing things.

Prognosis 2014...

Wake up the echoes, Rice travels to Notre Dame to open 2014! If I knew New Mexico State's fight song I'd quote it too, but I don't. The Aggies come to Rice in week 2 followed by a trip to College Station to take on the other Aggies in week 3. Rice finishes up their non-conference by traveling to West Point. Let's just say Rice goes 2-2 there.

The Owls replace their quarterback but that blow should be lessened somewhat thanks to Driphus Jackson's playing experience. Rice will miss guys like Ross, but younger players should step into bigger roles. I doubt it will take the Owls 50+ years to win another conference title.

Posted on January 11, 2014 and filed under Southwest Round-Up, Sports.