Rice wants to be a power run team with a tough, smart defense and in head coach Mike Bloomgren’s second year that dream is closer to reality. The Owls looked to keep in close in West Point, NY as 23-point underdogs to a resurgent Army Black Knight squad.
In a situation like this, a rebuilding team vs a program coming off two 10+ win seasons, keeping things close and respectable is a reasonable outcome. Rice was tied until late, when Army finally broke through for their second TD of the game after an 18-play, 9-minute drive that has become common the last few years.
Rice’s game-tying drive came up short on 4th and 1 when Army’s defensive back knocked away a pass that was in the hands of the Rice TE Jaeger Bull.
Rice looked well-prepared for the triple-option, and it was a credit to an offseason of preparation. The Owl offense looked formidable at times as well, but there are still some things to work out. QB Wiley Green scrambled into what looked to be open space, but caused his own fumble by losing the ball. Rice was fortunate to recover after a review.
Green found an open man on the next play but hit him late, and that meant Rice faced a 4th-and-1 instead of having a fresh set of downs.
LB Antonio Moreno on the game:
”Obviously, a very tough loss and a game that we thought we could have won. But this gives us a lot of confidence knowing that if we can hang in there with a really good team like Army we can win a lot of games this season and down the road.”AP
Nashon Ellerbe had a 54-yard run for the only score of the game for Bloomgren’s crew.
At media days, Bloomgren talked up the process of becoming the team they want. “We are doing the right things, and the next step is wins.” Nights like Friday, in which Rice went step-for-step with a good G5 team until late are evidence of this improvement.