Rice Gets First Bowl Win Since 1953 Season
by Mike Mitchell
December 30, 2008
Rice beat Western Michigan 38-14 in the Texas Bowl for its first bowl win since the 1953 season. The Broncos remain winless in four bowl efforts.
Rice led 38-0 before Western Michigan scored two fourth quarter touchdowns. The Owls' stellar QB Chase Clement threw 3 TD passes, and ran for 72 yards and another score. He also caught a TD pass from Jarett Dillard in a reversal of roles - Dillard caught 60 TD passes in his career to smash the NCAA record by 10. Clement has thrown 51 TD passes to Dillard to set an NCAA career record for most touchdown passes by a duo.
The Owls finished the season 10-3 for their first 10-win campaign since 1949. The Broncos dropped to 9-4.
The 115th-ranked Rice defense limited Western Michigan to six first downs and 90 total yards in the first half. The 24th-ranked Bronco offense finished with only 278 yards.
Rice led 24-0 at halftime as Clement opened the scoring with a 26-yard run in the first quarter, and added TD passes of 6 yards to Toren Dixon and 45 yards to James Casey in the second quarter. Clark Fangmeier tacked on a 30-yard field goal.
The Owls increased the lead to 31-0 in the third quarter on the Dillard-to-Clement TD pass that covered 13 yards. Clements third TD pass came early in the fourth when he connected with Dillard on an 18-yard play.
Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller had a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kirk Elsworth to avoid being shutout. He added a 13-yard TD pass to Schneider Julien with 25 seconds left in the game.
The Broncos closed the regular season with a loss to Ball State and will begin their 2009 campaign on a two-game losing skid.
Rice, in its second season with David Bailiff as head coach, finished the year on a 7-game winning streak, its longest since bridging the 1952-1953 seasons with a 7-game streak and its longest single-season streak since 1949.
Western Michigan was trying for its first-ever 10-win season, and still finished with just its third 9-win campaign.