Year in Review: Rice Owls

Overall Record: 5-7

Conference Record: 3-5

High Point

A truly unique high point for the Owls as Luke Turner summed up his collegiate experience in the best way imaginable. Enjoy. 

Low Point

The Owls entered Halloween weekend fully on schedule 4-3 and on track for another bowl game, they exited November having gone 1-4 with their bowl hopes extinguished. Mixed in were winnable games at UTEP and UTSA and two blowout losses at home to Louisiana Tech and Southern Miss. 

Offensive MVP

For all the chubby kids out there, your Rice MVP is All Conference lineman, Andrew Reue. We talk a lot about swiss army knives on this site, you know the guys who serve in any of a variety of roles, jack of all trades, master of some. Reue took that to a new level starting at both guard positions, right tackles, and then making seven starts at center to end 2015. Don't underestimate the difficulty of making those moves, particularly moving into the center position. It ain't easy and Reue did it well enough to make the All C-USA team. 

He was Rice’s offensive line depth chart. Reue ends his career starting 37 career games for the Owls.

Defensive MVP

Alex Lyons.jpg

Rice has produced some decent linebackers over the years, Alex Lyons is one of them. Lyons led the Owls with 77 tackles including 54 in the last six games for the Owls, that's 26 more than the next highest Owl. Lyons was second on the team in passes defensed and tied for first in quarterback hurries. 

Lyons' efforts were good enough for Honorable Mention All C-USA.

What went right

The Owls were once again a powerful running team, second in the conference in rushing offense. Head coach David Bailiff has quietly assembled a pretty decent group of offensive lineman and has found guys that have true FBS size and athletic ability.  

The Owls continue to find decent skill players particularly at the running back position. With Jowan Davis batting injuries the Owls used a number of quality back to carry the load including freshman Austin Walter and Samuel Stewart.

What has to change

For a bunch of smart kids Rice sure got penalized a lot. Almost double their opponents in 2015. With an offense that is, shall we say, limited, getting behind the sticks is death. The Owls gave away too much yardage due to yellow hankies. 

The Owls also failed to get consistent pressure on opponents quarterbacks, exposing the back end of the Owls’ defense. The Owls didn’t stop the run, at all, giving up five yards a carry. 

Rice is upside down when it comes to points per game vs. points allowed, scoring 23 points a game but giving up 37. The Owls were second worse, ahead of only historically awful SMU, in points per play. 

The Owls were -12 in turnover margin in 2015 as well. 

Penalties and turnovers will doom a team. The Owls need to play smarter and value the ball more in 2016.

Wagner September 05 2015 win 56-16
at Texas September 12 2015 loss 28-42
at North Texas September 19 2015 win 38-24
at Baylor September 26 2015 loss 17-70
Western Kentucky October 03 2015 loss 10-49
at Florida Atlantic October 10 2015 win 27-26
Army October 24 2015 win 38-31
Louisiana Tech October 30 2015 loss 17-42
at Texas-El Paso November 06 2015 loss 21-24
Southern Miss November 14 2015 loss 10-65
at UTSA November 21 2015 loss 24-34
Charlotte November 28 2015 win 27-7
Posted on January 22, 2016 and filed under Southwest Round-Up.