CFN Armed Forces Analysis - Rice 33, AF 14
Posted Dec 29, 2012

CFN's thoughts and analysis on Rice's win over Air Force

Bell Helicopters Armed Forces Rice 33, Air Force 14

In a sloppy game with the two teams combining to lose five fumbles and with little offense from Air Force, Rice dominated the time of possession and owed the second half, overcoming a 14-7 deficit with 26 unanswered points. Chris Boswell hit two short field goals and backup quarterback Driphus Jackson connected with Jordan Taylor on touchdown passes from 22 and 34 yards out. Charles Ross added a two-yard scoring run. Taylor kicked off the scoring with a 16-yard grab, but Air Force came back with two short touchdown runs. However, the Falcons only managed 166 yards on the ground and completed 3-of-12 throws.

Rice: The Owls dominated, outgaining the Falcons 503 yards to 214. …. Rice fumbled it five times, losing three. … Rice had the ball for 20:31 in the second half … QB Driphus Jackson came off the bench to complete 15-of-21 passes for 264 yards and two scores, and he ran 13 times for 32 yards. … WR Jordan Taylor caught nine passes for 153 yards and three scores. … LB Cameron Nwosu made ten tackles with a sack.

Air Force: The Falcons had the ball for just 22:08 … Connor Dietz completed one of three passes for four yards and was held to 11 rushing yards, while Kale Pearson completed 2-of-8 passes for 44 yards with a pick. … LB Austin Niklas led all tacklers with 14 with two tackles for loss, while Alex Means made 12 tackles with a sack.

By Richard Cirminiello

At 2-6, Rice head coach David Bailiff was on career life support. At 7-6, capped by an impressive win in today's Armed Forces Bowl, Bailiff may have earned himself a contract extension when he gets back to Houston.

Bailiff might have a quarterback controversy on his hands when the Owls reconvene in the spring. Little-used redshirt freshman Driphus Jackson was improbably spectacular in relief of injured starter Taylor McHargue, completing 15-of-21 passes for 265 yards, two scores and no picks. Jackson is supposed to be an athlete who's still fin-tuning his passing skills.

Both Rice quarterbacks would be well-advised to chum up with WR Jordan Taylor during the offseason. The 6-5 sophomore scored his first three touchdowns of the season, schooling the Falcons with his length, hands and body control.

If Bailiff does earn a raise, he ought to earmark a small portion of it to defensive coordinator Chris Thurmond. Thurmond's D carried the momentum of the regular season into Fort Worth, shutting down Air Force, and shutting it out over the final 33 minutes.

Rough game for Air Force, which never quite looked right after jumping out to a 14-7 lead. However, it's hard to watch a game involving one of the service academies without recognizing that there are some very special young men in those uniforms. Soldiers and students who just happen to play football.

By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN

- Sure am glad to see that Clucko the chicken was the only CFN "staffer" to pick this matchup correctly straight up on our confidence picks. Perhaps we should have all known better with the Air Force Academy losing three of its last four games.

- On that note, don't you find yourself rooting for our nation's finest on the football field? It's just so hard for our service academies to compete any more in big-time college football because it's not about playing at the next level for the kids wearing the headgear. It's about serving our fine nation once they graduate which is so much more important than winning football games. Hats off...

- Allowing some of the Air Force personnel to jump into a Bell Helicopter and gain aerial supremacy on Rice may not have even been enough to turn the momentum in this one.

- Much like the regular season, once Rice stopped being gratuitous in regards to turning the football over, it became a very good team. The Owls went into halftime down by a touchdown because it dropped the ball on the turf three times in the first half. In the second half, Rice had a death-grip on the football--and consequently--the game.

- What a great turnaround by a Rice football team that was 1-5 to start the season. The Owls finished on quite the tear by winning six of its last seven including its second bowl win in about 50 years. You can count that as a successful season for the 2012 Rice Owls.

- The Owls gained control of this game in large part because freshman Driphus Jackson makes its offense more balanced. He's a talented kid that is sure to be a staple under center in Houston for perhaps three more years. So far so good in this one as Jackson finished with 264 yards and two TDs through the air and provided a big spark once he entered the game. The Falcons had to respect the threat and yielded 208 yards on the ground as well.

By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball

Today's win in the Armed Services Bowl was Rice's fifth straight victory. That ought to silence David Bailiff's critics... for now.

Bailiff and his staff deserve a lot of credit for getting the Owls prepared for this game. Very few teams win their bowl game when they lose their starting QB early in the game (see: National Championship Game in 2010).

Driphus Jackson brings a completely different look the Rice offense. Sure, he's not as a good of a runner as McHargue, but his arm allowed the Owls to take advantage of Air Force's undersized secondary. This added dimension made the difference, as Rice scored on four of six drives with Jackson under center.

With that said, the game ball goes to the Owl defense. The Rice front four dominated the entire game, holding Air Force to just 216 yards of total offense. By comparison, the Falcons racked up over 400 yards against Michigan earlier in the season.

Air Force is probably glad that this season is over. Much like today's contest, there were some highs, but there were even more lows. However, Kale Peterson led the Falcons to two TD drives, proving that he's a more-than-capable replacement for Connor Dietz. As long as the team can quit turning the ball over, it should post a winning season next year.