Rice (10-3, 8-1 CUSA) was already lined up to go to a bowl game for the second straight season, but now they will do so as Conference USA champions for the first time in program history. The Owls, playing at home in Houston, defended their home turf against Marshall (9-4, 7-2 CUSA) in dominating fashion, winning by a score of 41-24.
Rice out-gained Marshall y more than 100 yards, 487-371. Considering how successful Marshal has been this season on offense, that is no small feat. Marshall had recorded at least 500 yards in each of their previous five games and failed to record 400 yards of offense just twice this season (Virginia Tech, FAU). Marshall had struggled on the road at times, so the home field advantage for Rice was nothing to overlook.
Rice pulled some tricks to get on top early and running back Charles Ross had 109 rushing yards and two touchdowns to help pace the offense. The Owls jumped out of halftime with a 13-0 third quarter, which helped to keep Marshall at a distance. Rakeem Cato was 24 of 41 for 265 yards and two touchdowns but the big plays just were not there often enough for Marshall’s quarterback this week.
With the Conference USA championship, Rice should be heading to the Liberty Bowl, which hosts the Conference USA champion. This will be the first time Rice has played in the Liberty Bowl. The Liberty Bowl also has a tie in with the SEC, but seven their bowls get their pick of SEC teams before the Liberty Bowl gets to make a selection. Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Ole Miss could all be options for the Liberty Bowl to choose from.
UPDATE (4:26 PPM): Marshall has accepted an invite to the Military Bowl, which will be played in Annapolis, Maryland this season.
Unfortunately, the news when it comes to Vince Biegel could actually be a little bit worse than what was originally feared.
Yesterday, the Wisconsin linebacker’s father revealed that his son would be out as long as a month after undergoing surgery to have a screw inserted into his foot. In a press release, UW confirmed that Biegel did indeed undergo surgery Thursday night, and put the timeline at an ambiguous “several weeks” for a return.
The decision to undergo a medical procedure on what’s been a lingering issue was made after the player met with UW team physicians Wednesday and Thursday.
“I really hate any time a player has to miss time due to an injury, especially a senior like Vince,” head coach Paul Chryst said in a statement. “Vince has such a passion for football and loves playing the game. This team is very important to him and he is very important to our team. What you appreciate is that you know he will do everything in his power to get back on the field as soon as possible.”
At the bare minimum, Biegel will miss the next four games, a stretch that includes matchups with No. 4 Michigan, No. 2 Ohio State, Iowa and No. 15 Nebraska.
Biegel had started 29 games in a row for the Badgers. At least initially, Biegel will be replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt freshman Zack Baun.
‘Scuffle’ led to broken nose, two starting Houston LBs missing game
Shortly before the start of what would become Houston’s win over UConn Thursday night, UH announced that a pair of starting linebackers, Tyus Bowser (head injury) and Matthew Adams (coaches’ decision), were among the four who would be sidelined for the AAC contest. And now we know that, when it came to those two, the head injury and coaches’ decision were intertwined.
In his postgame press conference following the win, head coach Tom Herman acknowledged that there had been what he described as a “scuffle” between Bowser and Adams on Wednesday. The former suffered a broken bone in his face in the “freak accident,” resulting in both starters being sidelined last night.
“[Wednesday], during our weekly tradition of ‘Family Fridays,’ where we go out on the field and play some silly games just to loosen the thing up, dodge ball, whiffle ball, two-hand touch football, the two got over-competitive and things briefly got out of hand during one of the games and resulted in a scuffle between Tyus and Matt, two brothers,” Herman said. “Our culture is one of love and the two are very close, remain very close and definitely consider [each other] brothers.
“They’re both very remorseful for what happened in yesterday’s incident.”
Bowser is expected to be out of the lineup “for a few weeks.” Herman said Adams, the Cougars’ third-leading tackler heading into the game, will be allowed to play against Navy in Week 6.
LISTEN: Steve Spurrier left Dabo Swinney the quintessential HBC voicemail
And we come to Reason No. 1,844 why college football is a lesser sport without Steve Spurrier in it.
As the head coaches at South Carolina and Clemson, Spurrier and Dabo Swinney traded their fair share of public barbs on more than one occasion, admittedly more so the former than the latter. Hell, on individual even suggested a rasslin’ match pitting the two coaches against other. There was also, though, a deep and mutual respect between the two, as evidenced by a voicemail Spurrier left for Swinney in 2014 after both the Tigers and Gamecocks lost their opener.
And, of course, he left the message for the rival coach in the most HBC way possible. From James Bates (follow him on Twitter HERE):
As always, pitch perfect, Coach Spurrier.
Nick Saban’s dad ‘would’ve kicked me out of the house’ if he quit team
Unofficially? The Nicktator appears to be somewhat agitated by not only the move itself but the overall transfer climate in the sport.
Shortly after releasing the statement on Barnett, Saban appeared on his weekly radio show. While the quarterback’s name wasn’t specifically mentioned, it wasn’t hard to crack the code Saban was using in dropping pearls of wisdom from the lessons his West Virginia-born father had taught him.
It’s one of those things where I think the culture has changed a little bit,” Saban said. “I think there’s a certain pride people have in competition. There’s certain things that I was taught growing up about not quitting and seeing things through. I think if I would have come home and told my dad that I was going to quit the team, I think he would have kicked me out of the house. I don’t think I’d have a place to stay.
“My dad used to always say ‘The grass is always greener on top of the septic tank,'” Saban said. “So it always looks better someplace else. So you think, instead of facing your fears and really overcoming adversity and making yourself better through the competition, you go someplace else thinking it will be better there. But until you face your fears, you’re always going to have some of those issues or problems.
Exactly what Saban’s father would’ve thought of his son leaving the Miami Dolphins after just two years and his first losing season as a head coach to make the move to Alabama is unknown.