Bell Bowl Bits

By Slim Timmons, (2012-2013 Bowl results, leaders, etc.)

With the 2012-2013 post-season ending with Alabama’s 42-14 win over Notre Dame in the BCS championship game, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl featured several of this season’s bowl highlights as Rice defeated Air Force 33-14 in the 10th annual game late last month at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.

• Sophomore wide receiver Jordan Taylor, Rice’s Starr MVP for the 2012 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, posted one of the bowl season’s top receiving efforts.  Taylor’s three touchdown receptions tied Arizona State’s Rashad Ross for the most scoring catches this post-season.  Taylor’s three TD passes caught also tied a Bell bowl mark set in 2011 by BYU’s Cody Hoffmann.
• Taylor’s 153-yard receiving yards against Air Force set a Bell bowl mark and was the fourth-best yardage total during the 2012-2013 post-season behind Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins (191 yards), Arizona’s Austin Hill (175) and Ohio’s Chase Cochran (162).
• Taylor’s nine receptions tied for eighth during the post-season.  The eight receptions also tied a Bell bowl mark set previously in 2004 by Hannibal Thomas of Cincinnati and tied in 2006 by Tulsa’s Tarrion Adams and 2010 by SMU’s Darius Johnson.
• For the second-time in the history of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, a backup quarterback led his school to a win as Rice’s redshirt freshman Driphus Jackson guided the Owls from a 14-7 deficit to a 33-14 win over Air Force.  Cal’s Kevin Riley came off the bench in the 2007 game to lead the Bears to a 42-36 come-from-behind win over Air Force.
• Jackson’s effort was the best in the 2012-2013 by a backup quarterback as he completed 15 of 21 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns.  It was the fifth-best Bell bowl passing effort as Riley completed 16 of 19 passes for 269 yards and three scores in the 2007 Cal win.  Jackson connected on 22- and 34-yard TD passes to Taylor.
• Despite playing only a little more than half the game, Jackson had the fifth-best QB rating during the bowl season (208.5) as he started eight Owl drives during the 2012 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl with five resulting in scores (three touchdowns and two field goals).  Riley had the best Bell bowl QB rating (255.2) as he started nine drives with six finishing touchdown scoring drives (three by passing).
• Rice finished the season with five-straight wins as the streak is currently the eighth-best among Football Bowl Subdivision schools.  The Owls started the 2012 season with a 1-5 mark before posting six wins in their last seven games with their lone setback being a 28-24 decision at Tulsa.
• Ranking ahead of Rice on the winning streak list is Texas A&M (six-straight victories) as the two schools are scheduled to open the 2013 regular-season in College Station August 31.
• Rice was one of four Conference USA schools to win a bowl game this post-season.  For the second-straight season, the league posted a 4-1 bowl record.  UCF (vs. Ball State), SMU (vs. Fresno State) and Tulsa (vs. Iowa State) also scored post-season victories.  East Carolina (vs. Louisiana-Lafayette) was the lone CUSA victim.
• Over the past five post-season, Conference USA schools have the third-best bowl mark (16-12, 57.1%) to rank behind the Big East (18-10, 64.35) and the SEC (29-17, 63.0%).  The Mountain West Conference is fourth on the five-season list at 56.0% (14-11).
• Rice’s 19 points in the fourth quarter to break open the 2012 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl was the fifth-best final period scoring production by a school in the 2012-2013 post-season.
• The five total fumbles lost by Rice (3) and Air Force (2) were the most by two schools during the 2012-2013 post-season.
• The 2013 Bell opponents had ties with one of the schools competing in the national title game.  Air Force’s Troy Calhoun and Rice’s David Bailiff joined Alabama’s Nick Saban in being hired in 2007 at their current school.
• Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly was taking over at Cincinnati as the head coach in 2007 replacing Mike Dantonio, who coached the Bearcats to a 32-14 win over Marshall in the 2004 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
• Calhoun, Bailiff, Saban and Dantonio, who left Cincinnati for Michigan State, are the only remaining hires from the 24 coaches in the Class of 2007 still remaining at the school that hired them that year.  Kelly left Cincinnati after the 2009 season to accept the Notre Dame assignment.
• Air Force senior linebacker Austin Niklas, who was named the Falcons’ Starr MVP for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, watched his younger brother play in the national championship game.  Sophomore Tony Niklas started as a wide receiver for the Irish, but did not catch a pass against Alabama.
• Austin Niklas had a game-high 14 tackles (11 unassisted) for Air Force with two tackles for losses totaling nine yards.  Niklas’ tackle totals are tied for seventh all-time in Bell bowl history.
• Air Force will host Notre Dame during the 2013 regular-season at Falcon Stadium.  The game is scheduled for October 26.
• The announced attendance of 40,754 was the fourth-best figure in Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl history and marked the fourth-straight post-season game at Amon G. Carter Stadium to exceed 40,000.  The 2012 Bell attendance number was an increase of 10,496 fans (third highest for all bowls for the 2012-2013 post-season) over the 2011 figure for the BYU vs. Tulsa game at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.
• The 2012 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl drew the largest television audience in the game’s history with an average of 2,584,000 households. The ESPN telecast’s 2.6 average household coverage rating is the bowl’s second highest rating in the event’s history.  With a 59% ratings increase from 2011’s 1.6 coverage rating, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl saw the largest HH ratings increase for all bowls on ESPN through Jan. 1, 2013. Coverage of the game was provided by ESPN and ESPN Radio.  The 2.6 rating is second only to the rating from bowl’s inaugural game in 2003, in which the match-up between Boise State and TCU drew a television audience of 2.8.