New Orleans Bowl Player Profile & History
Posted Dec 8, 2006

R&L Cariers New Orleans Bowl Player Profile & History

Rice (7-5) vs. Troy (7-5)

Dec. 22, 8 p.m. ESPN2

Get Tickets for the New Orleans Bowl | Get more picks for this game

- New Orleans Bowl Preview


New Orleans Bowl History
2005 Southern Miss 31, Arkansas St 19
2004 Southern Miss 31, North Texas 10
2003 Memphis 27, North Texas 17
2002 North Texas 24, Cincinnati 19
2001 Colorado St 45, North Tex. 20

By Richard Cirminiello

New Orleans Bowl Player profile
WR Jarrett Dillard, Rice – Rice is synonymous with pass-catching prowess.  Jerry Rice that is, not the Rice Owls.  No, this Rice, which was running the antiquated wishbone offense before this season, has sent just three wideouts to the NFL Draft in the last three decades and has never had a 1,000-yard receiver B.D., before Dillard.  For all the records and impact plays the sophomore has had in 2006, what’s most remarkable is that he’s doing it here, at a school historically known for its conservative, grind-it-out attack.  Yeah, Todd Graham and Major Applewhite opened things up this year with the installation of the spread offense, but the Owls still ran more than they threw, so it wasn’t as if Hal Mumme or Mike Leach had replaced Ken Hatfield in the corner office.  Dillard, however, was destined for stardom no matter the obstacles; double teams, injuries to starting quarterback Chase Clement, a rugged non-conference schedules—mere pebbles in the path toward an improbable spot alongside Georgia Tech’s Calvin Johnson and Notre Dame’s Jeff Samardzija in this season’s Biletnikoff finalist photo.  Dillard’s numbers—82 catches for 1,176 yards and 20 touchdowns—tell only part of his story in 2006.  At just 5-11 and 170 pounds, he’s a silky smooth route runner with next level ball skills and a knack for making clutch grabs when the game is hanging in the balance.  Dillard is a bona fide budding superstar, riding a 14-game streak with a touchdown catch, while helping to usher in a renaissance at Rice.  Who could have possibly imagined all this three years ago when the wiry San Antonio kid appeared headed to Colgate on a basketball scholarship because not a single football program was extending a free ride?  None, that is, until Hatfield swooped in with a late offer, a program-altering moment that’ll wind up being the ex-coach’s legacy at Rice if Dillard continues to rewrite record books.             

Best Owl Bowl Moment – Back in the day, Rice was a feisty program under legendary coach Jess Neely, which would step up every few years and win a Southwest Conference championship.  Led by the dynamic pitch-and-catch combo of Tobin Rote to Froggy Williams and a cast of talented seniors, the 1949 squad was the best of the lot, going 10-1 and capping the year with a 27-13 Cotton Bowl victory over North Carolina and Choo Choo Justice. 

Best Trojan Bowl Moment – No matter the outcome, you always remember your first.  For Troy, its first—and only—post-season appearance at the I-A level occurred two years ago in a 34-21 Silicon Valley Classic loss to Northern Illinois.  The final score was a disappointment, however, the bowl invitation just four years after graduating from I-AA was a landmark achievement for head coach Larry Blakeney and the entire Trojan program

Rice's best win ...
Rice 41 ... Tulsa 38 2OT
Rice answered a 39-yard Jarod Tracy field goal in the second overtime with a 25-yard touchdown catch from Jarrett Dillard for the win. Dillard caught an 11-yard touchdown pass to start the scoring in the first overtime, but Tulsa came back with a one-yard Paul Smith touchdown run on fourth and goal. Down 20-7 in the fourth quarter after a 65-yard Dillard touchdown catch, Tulsa got two rushing touchdowns from Courtney Tennial, and then answered a nine-yard Chase Clement scoring run with a three-yard Smith run to force overtime. Tulsa outgained Rice 568 yards to 356 but lost four turnovers.

Rice's worst loss ... Tulane 38 ... Rice 24
Lester Ricard threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers and Matt Forte ran for 178 yards and scored twice in the team's most complete performance of the season. Rice got two Chase Clement touchdown passes and a three-yard scoring run, but he couldn't handle the Tulane secondary that broke up 13 passes with CB Israel Route knocking away five. The Green Wave never trailed, but wasn't able to pull away until an eight-yard Forte run early in the fourth.

Troy's best win ...
Troy 21 ... Middle Tennessee 20
Down 20-7 late in the game, Troy scored on a 19-yard Smokey Hampton touchdown catch with just over two minutes to play, recovered the onside kick, and went 42 yards in eight plays finishing off with a three-yard Gary Banks touchdown grab with 14 seconds to play. Middle Tennessee had started off the scoring with the first of two Colby Smith second quarter field goals and a four-yard Desmond Gee run off a trick play, but Troy stayed alive with an eight-yard Omar Haugabook touchdown run. When RB Desmond Gee his Stephen Chicola for a 15-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth, the Blue Raiders appeared to have it wrapped up.

Troy's worst loss ...
Arkansas State 33 ... Troy 26
Arkansas State scored 13 points in the final 12 minutes winning the game on a one-yard Curtis Wilkerson touchdown run with :17 to play after the defense came up with a safety on a Josh Williams tackle with just under four minutes to play. Corey Leonard threw two touchdown passes in the first half, including a 62-yard play to David Johnson, but Troy stayed even throughout helped by a 53-yard Mykeal Terry touchdown catch and two short Kenny Cattouse scoring runs.

2005 New Orleans Bowl
Southern Miss 31 ... Arkansas State 19
Dustin Almond threw two second half touchdown passes to Shawn Nelson and Cody Hill ran for 161 yards and a touchdown as Southern Miss won its second straight New Orleans Bowl. Arkansas State took advantage of USM mistakes to get a four-yard touchdown run and a two-yard touchdown pass from Nick Noce, but the USM offense proved to be too much cranking out 445 yards and 25 first downs.
Player of the game: Southern Miss RB Cody Hill ran 37 times for 161 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Southern Miss - Passing: Dustin Almond, 17-32, 253 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Cody Hull, 37-161, 1 TD. Receiving: Shawn Nelson, 6-121, 2 TD
Arkansas State - Passing: Nick Noce, 10-19, 213 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Nick Noce, 17-55, 1 TD. Receiving: Gary Vincent, 3-53

Rice Bowl History (4-3)
1961 Bluebonnet Kansas 33, Rice 7
1960 Sugar Mississippi 14, Rice 6
1957 Cotton Navy 20, Rice 7
1953 Cotton Rice 28, Alabama 6
1949 Cotton Rice 27, North Carolina 13
1946 Orange Rice 8, Tennessee 0
1937 Cotton Rice 28, Colorado 14
Troy Bowl History (0-2)
2004 Silicon Valley No. Illinois 34, Troy 21
1948 Paper Jacksonville State 19, Troy 0