By Ron Knabenbauer, www.armedforcesbowl.com
Adjustments were key for the Rice Owls in their Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl victory over the Air Force Falcons.
The second quarter appeared as if it couldn’t get any worse for the Houston based team as they lost three fumbles (a bowl record), including one on the Air Force 3-yard line with less than a minute to go in the period, but they responded in the second half with 331 yards and 26 points.
Maybe more importantly, Rice held the Falcons scoreless in the final 30 minutes and to only 25 net rushing yards in their 33-14 win. Air Force came into the contest with the No. 2 rushing attack in the country but only managed 166 yards on the ground against the Owls. The Falcons came in averaging 328.8 rushing yards per game.
Wide receiver Jordan Taylor caught two of this three touchdown passes in the second half, and the Owls scored 19 points in fourth quarter to give the school its second bowl win in five years. Taylor, who finished with a bowl record 153 receiving yards, was named one of the contest’s Most Valuable Players along with Air Force linebacker Austin Niklas (14 tackles, 11 unassisted, two for losses).
Taylor also tied bowl records with his three touchdown receptions and 18 total points scored in a game.
Rice was without starting quarterback Taylor McHargue for much of the game as the junior was injured in the second quarter, but freshman Driphus Jackson did a solid job as the replacement under-center. Jackson went 15-of-21 passing for 364 yards and two touchdowns.
Here are some other notes from the bowl:
BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL TEAM RECORDS
- Quarter - 19, Rice, 2012
NET YARDS PASSING
- Quarter - 154, Rice, 2012 (third, 10 for 12)
TOTAL NET YARDS
- Half - 331, Rice, 2012 (100 rush, 231 pass)
Fumbles – 5, Rice, 2012
- Fumbles Lost – 3, Rice, 2012
- Fumble Returns: – 3, Air Force, 2012
BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL INDIVIDUAL RECORDS
Pass Receptions TIED – 9, Jordan Taylor, Rice, 2012; Tarrion Adams, Tulsa, 2006; Hannibal Thomas, Cincinnati, 2004; Darius Johnson, SMU, 2010
- Yards Receiving - 153, Jordan Taylor, Rice, 2012
- Touchdown Receptions TIED – 3, Jordan Taylor, Rice; Cody Hoffman, BYU, 2011
Points scored in a game TIED - 18, Jordan Taylor, Rice, 2012; Cody Hoffman, BYU, 2011
BELL HELICOPTER ARMED FORCES BOWL TWO-TEAM RECORDS
Rushing Attempts 102, Rice (54) vs. Air Force (48), 2012
Fumbles 7, Rice (5) vs. Air Force (2), 2012
Fumbles Lost 5, Rice (2) vs. Air Force (2), 2012
Rice played its first-ever football game on December 29. Air Force last played on December 29 in the 1991 Liberty Bowl against Mississippi State, a 38-15 win.
Today’s 10:45 a.m. kickoff marked the earliest start for a Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl game, which is being played for the second-time on a Saturday.
Rice won the coin toss and elected to receive. It is the first time that a team has won the toss and elected to receive since Boise State won the inaugural coin flip prior to the 2003 game. The Broncos won the contest 34-31.
Today’s kickoff temperature of 30°F made the game the second coolest in Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl history behind the 2004 contest
Neither school scored on their opening drive. It’s the first time since the 2005 game where neither team scored on their first possession (third time ever). Schools have scored on eight of the 20 opening drives of the game, including one field goal, six TDs by rushing and one six-pointer by passing (first possession after opening kickoff).
Rice’s minus-14 yards on the opening drive is the worst start in bowl history
Air Force ran for 87 yards in the second quarter, marking the ninth most rushing yards in a quarter. Air Force owns seven of the top 10 rushing performances in a quarter in bowl history.
It was the first time in bowl history that the score at halftime is 14-7.
Rice gained 170 yards in the third quarter, the fourth most all time in bowl history. Of those 170 yards, 154 came passing – setting a new bowl record for passing yards in a quarter.
Rice’s 19 fourth quarter points are the most scored in the final stanza in bowl history.
Air Force was held scoreless in the second half, marking the third time in bowl history a team didn’t score any points in the final 30 minutes.