Beyond The Box Score: Rice

An in-depth look at the UH/Rice game

Last year’s team would have lost this game. There’s no doubt in my mind. Kudos to Major for making a change at OC.
But UH isn’t showing any love to Major:

Poor guy.
The 45 points would have been the second-highest scoring game last year.
It was the highest scoring road game since October 2015 (UCF – 59 points).
1Q took just 37 minutes to play yet the game still took 3 hours and 33 minutes. Maddening.
UH has won 31 games against Rice – 8 more than any other team we’ve played. Trivia: Of the teams UH has played 10 times or more, we have a winning percentage of .700 or higher against 3 – Rice, Tulane and …
What can you say about Ed Oliver? 13 tackles, 3.5 for loss, 2 QB hurries. Was he ready to play when the game started? Big Ed had 6 tackles and a 3 tackles for loss in the first quarter.
D’Eriq King played his most complete game at QB. He was very effective throwing the ball (71%) and accounted for 4 TDs. He led receivers down the field and never put himself in bad positions.
The Coogs ran for 257 yards but Terence Williams and Mulbah Car combined for just 14 carries and 57 yards. That’s concerning but the hidden strength of this offense is plays being made from unexpected sources.
And I expect a lot more packages and plays for Bryson Smith going forward.
Patrick Carr was listed as either 2nd or 3rd string (but got the start due to a broken chin strap on Terence Williams’ helmet). Carr ran with purpose and hopefully earned himself a real start against Arizona. With Major’s history of “rewarding” good RB play, I’m not betting on it.
The 257 rushing yards (36 carries) were the most in a road game since that 2015 UCF game (266 yards on 48 carries). Last year UH had 255 rush yards at USF on 48 carries.
Just 2 of UH’s 7 scoring drives went longer than 2 minutes. Only 3 of the Cougars’ 16 total drives went longer than 2 minutes. Rice’s 5 scoring drives took almost as long as UH’s total TOP.
Rice had just 87 passing yards vs. PV (0 TDs) but 204 yards (3 TDs) against UH. All 3 TDs came in the first half.
Rice deserves credit for making some ridiculous plays on 3rd down. QBs dropping dimes and WRs making acrobatic catches. There’s a new toughness on South Main.
Marquez Stevenson had 203 all-purpose yards (60 rush, 107 receiving, 36 kick return). Stevenson and Lark each had 2 TDs yesterday. No receiver had 2 TDs in a game last year.
Caden Novikoff had a bad day yesterday – he missed a FG and an XP (XP not his fault). Comparatively, Rice kicker Jack Fox kicked 5 punts (averaged 49 ypp), had 5 touchbacks on 6 kickoffs (Novikoff had 2), but missed 2 kicks himself (both 48+ yard FG). I think Fox may play on Sundays.
Rice had the ball for 21.5 minutes in the 2nd half including 13:16 of the 3rd quarter.
3rd quarter stats

Rice – 13:16 TOP, 153 yards, 3 points
UH – 1:44 TOP, 145 yards, 14 points
D’Eriq King was 3/3 for 110 yards and ran for a score and threw for another in 3Q.
Rice was 5/7 on 3rd down in the 3rd quarter – crazy good. UH was 0/0. Also crazy good.
To give it context: In the dreadful 3rd quarter against UTSA in 2014, the Roadrunners had the ball 12:59. I cannot find a quarter where we had the ball less (since 2006) than yesterday. And I certainly can’t find one where we scored 14 with so little TOP.
The 2016 senior class had 38 wins – most in program history. The current senior class has 30 and at least 11 more chances to eclipse them.
Top 5 senior classes by wins

2016: 38 wins
2017: 37 wins
2009: 37 wins
2011: 36 wins
1979: 36 wins
The 1979 team had 4 fewer losses than 2016 or 2017 and 6 fewer than 2009.
As recent as the 2001 class had just 13 wins. The 1995 senior class had 8 wins – lowest in program history.
The 2018 team has a chance to make it six-straight bowls for the Coogs which would be a school-record. The current streak of 5 has only been done once before (2005-2009).
No one on our schedule beat an fbs team this week. Rice, Tech, Arizona, Navy, SMU, Tulane and Temple all lost. Only Tulane and Rice weren’t embarrassed. Memphis, USF, Tulsa, and TSU all beat fcs teams. ECU plays an FCS today.
We are the only team in the “P6” plus MWC and CUSA with a schedule with no FBS wins.
577 total yards in 20 minutes of time of possession. The Coogs averaged 29 yards per minute of possession (Rice averaged 11 yards per minute of TOP).
Only punted 3 times and Dane Roy averaged over 45 yards per kick. None were returned.
After Rice kicked the FG to go up 27-17, UH scored 28 unanswered to put the game away.
New in the box score: fair catch yards. If you fair catch between the 1 and the 25, yards are credited to this stat now. There were no fair catches in the Rice game.
UH fumbled twice in the game – one on a punt return by Bryson Smith and another by Terry Mark in the 4th quarter. Smith bobbled 2 other punts but secured them. Hope we have a competition this week at punt returner. Make Bryson earn it again.
Of the teams UH has played 10 times or more, we have a winning percentage of .700 or higher against 3: Rice, Tulane and … Florida State. Coogs are 13-2-2 against the Noles.


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