The Rice Owls football team represents Rice University in NCAA Division I college football. The Owls have competed in Conference USA's Western Division since 2005. Rice Stadium, built in 1950, hosts the Owls' home football games.
The Owls played in the eighteenth Cotton Bowl Classic against the Crimson Tide of Alabama. The game featured one of the most famous plays in college football history when Rice's Dickey Moegle (later Maegle) burst free on a sweep play, and on his way down the sideline, was tackled by Tommy Lewis, who had come off the Alabama sideline without his helmet to tackle Moegle. Referee Cliff Shaw saw Lewis come off the bench and gave the Owls the 95 yard touchdown. Rice would win the game 28-6, with the only Crimson Tide score coming from Lewis. The yardage added to Moegle's 265 yards rushing, a Cotton Bowl Classic record that would stand until Tony Temple's effort in 2008. This would be the Owls' last bowl win until the 2008 Texas Bowl, a win which also secured the Owls their first 10-win season since 1949.
|Name||Seasons||Overall||Overall %||Bowls||Bowls %|
Rice has won seven conference championships, four outright and three shared.
|Year||Conference||Coach||Overall record||Conference record|
|1934||Southwest Conference||Jimmy Kitts||9–1–1||5–1|
|1937||Southwest Conference||Jimmy Kitts||6–3–2||4–1–1|
|1946†||Southwest Conference||Jess Neely||9–2||5–1|
|1949||Southwest Conference||Jess Neely||10–1||6–0|
|1953†||Southwest Conference||Jess Neely||9–2||5–1|
|1957||Southwest Conference||Jess Neely||7–4||5–1|
|1994†||Southwest Conference||Ken Hatfield||5–6||4–3|
|2013||Conference USA||David Bailiff||10–4||7–1|
† indicates a shared conference title.
Rice has participated in twelve bowl games, garnering a record of 7–5.
|1938||Jimmy Kitts||Cotton Bowl Classic||Colorado||W 28–14|
|1947||Jess Neely||Orange Bowl||Tennessee||W 8–0|
|1950||Jess Neely||Cotton Bowl Classic||North Carolina||W 27–13|
|1954||Jess Neely||Cotton Bowl Classic||Alabama||W 28–6|
|1958||Jess Neely||Cotton Bowl Classic||Navy||L 7–20|
|1961||Jess Neely||Sugar Bowl||Ole Miss||L 6–14|
|1961||Jess Neely||Bluebonnet Bowl||Kansas||L 7–33|
|2006||Todd Graham||New Orleans Bowl||Troy||L 17–41|
|2008||David Bailiff||Texas Bowl||Western Michigan||W 38–14|
|2012||David Bailiff||Armed Forces Bowl||Air Force||W 33–14|
|2013||David Bailiff||Liberty Bowl||Mississippi State||L 7–44|
|2014||David Bailiff||Hawaii Bowl||Fresno State||W 30–6|
Rice Stadium was built in 1950, and has been the home of Owls football ever since. It hosted the NFL Super Bowl in January 1974. It replaced the old Rice Field (now Rice Track/Soccer Stadium) to increase seating. Total seating capacity in the current stadium was reduced from 70,000 to 47,000 before the 2006 season. The endzone seating benches were removed and covered with tarps, and all of the wooden bleachers were replaced with new, metal seating benches in 2006, as well. The stadium is also currently undergoing further renovations.
Official record (including any NCAA imposed vacates and forfeits) against all current CUSA opponents:
|Florida Atlantic||2||1||.667||Lost 1||2013||2016|
|Louisiana Tech||4||7||.364||Lost 4||1965||2017|
|North Texas||4||3||.571||Lost 1||1988||2016|
|Old Dominion||0||2||.000||Lost 2||2014||2017|
|Southern Miss||4||4||.500||Lost 3||2007||2017|
|Western Kentucky||0||2||.000||Lost 2||2015||2016|
Rice and SMU were members of the same conference from 1918 through 2012, and have played each other 90 times as of 2012 with SMU leading the series 48-41-1. The rivalry is because Rice and SMU were two of four private schools in the Southwest Conference (Baylor and TCU were the others). Rice and SMU were also the two smallest schools in the conference, were located in the two largest cities of any teams in the conference (Houston and Dallas, respectively), and have historically been considered the two best private universities in Texas.
|Games played||First meeting||Last meeting||RICE win||RICE loss||Ties||Win %|
|90||November 17, 1916 (Won 146–3)||November 17, 2012 (Won 36–14) ||41||48||1||45.5%|
Rice participates in a crosstown rivalry with Houston. UH and Rice play annually for the Bayou Bucket, a weathered bucket found by former Rice guard Fred Curry at an antique shop. Curry had it designed into a trophy for $310. The two universities are separated by five miles in Houston. The Cougars lead the series 29-11.The Cougars' 2013 move from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference has jeopardized the status of the series though, it is scheduled to resume in 2017 .
|Games played||First meeting||Last meeting||RICE win||RICE loss||Ties||Win %|
|40||September 11, 1971 (lost 21–23)||September 21, 2013 (lost 26–31) ||11||29||0||27.5%|
Rice and Texas have maintained a largely one-sided rivalry beginning in the early days of the Southwest Conference. Texas' 28 consecutive victories from 1966–1993 represents the sixth longest single-opponent winning streak in college football history. In 1994, in a nationally televised ESPN game, Rice scored a major upset win over Texas, but since then Texas has resumed series dominance. Despite the dissolution of the Southwest Conference, Texas and Rice still play on a "near annual" basis, allowing the Longhorns to keep a high profile in the state's largest city and the fourth largest city in the United States. Texas is a public university that enrolls 50,201 total students (5th largest in the US as of 2007) and over 37,000 undergraduates. Rice is a private university and enrolls 3,926 undergraduates.
|Games played||First meeting||Last meeting||Rice win||Rice loss||Ties||Win %|
|94||October 17, 1914 (lost 0–41)||September 12, 2015 (lost 42–28)||21||72||1||18.8%|
Rice and Baylor have a long-standing rivalry dating back to each of these foes days in the Southwest Conference. They are no longer in the same conference but have scheduled each other on and off since 1997 with Baylor winning the latest matchup; the Baylor Bears also hold the all-time record in the rivalry at 41-30-2 with the next matchup scheduled for 2019 at Rice.
The Rice Owls have been longtime rivals with the Texas A&M Aggies since each other's days in the Southwest Conference. Since they are no longer in the same conference they still occasionally schedule each other with the next matchup being scheduled for 2019 at Rice in NRG Stadium. Texas A&M holds the all-time record in the rivalry at 52-27 with the latest contest being played in 2014 with an Aggie victory.
|Buddy Dial||End||1956–1958||1993||was his team’s co-captain, Most Valuable Player, and was consensus All-America|
|John Heisman||Coach||1892–1927||1954||Inducted for his career as a coach at Oberlin, Akron, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Pennsylvania, Washington & Jefferson, Rice|
|Weldon Humble||Guard||1941–1943, 1946||1961||He was a consensus All- America choice. Like most athletes of his time, Weldon was required to suspend his career for military service during World War II.|
|Dick Maegle||Halfback||1952–1954||1979||He was consensus All-America and academic All-America in 1954|
|Jess Neely||Coach||1924–1966||1971||Inducted for his career as a coach at Rhodes, Clemson, Rice|
|Bill Wallace||Halfback||1932, 1934–1935||1978||Wallace was Rice's initial first team All-America selection|
|James "Froggy" Williams||End||1946–1949||1965||a consensus All-American and was also selected to the Cotton Bowl’s All-Decade team for the 1950s|
|Tommy Kramer||Quarterback||1972–1976||2012||Senior Bowl MVP and 1976 George Martin Award winner|
|Trevor Cobb||HB||1991, 1992|
|Jarett Dillard||WR||2006, 2008|
|Name||Position||Draft Round (Overall)||Current Team||Years in the NFL|
|Phillip Gaines||CB||3 (87)||Chiefs||3|
|Vance McDonald||TE||2 (55)||Steelers||4|
|Luke Willson||TE||5th (158)||Seahawks||4|
|Christian Covington||DE||6 (216)||Texans||2|
Announced schedules as of June 29, 2017.
|vs Houston||vs Wake Forest||at Houston||at Oklahoma State||at USC||at Texas||at LSU||Northwestern|
|at Hawaii||vs Texas
|vs Army||vs Houston||at Boise State||vs Boise State|
|at Wake Forest||at Army||vs LSU (NRG Stadium)||at Texas||at Northwestern|
|at LSU||vs Baylor|