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5 Thoughts - 2008 Texas Bowl
Rice QB Chase Clement
Rice QB Chase Clement
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 31, 2008


Rice beats Western Michigan 38-14 ... 5 Thoughts on the 2008 Texas Bowl


5 Thoughts ... 2008 Texas Bowl

Rice 38 ... Western Michigan 14

GAME NOTES: Rice & Clement rip up the Broncos
- 2008 CFN Texas Bowl Preview

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2008 Texas Bowl Player Profiles, Histories, & More

1. No offense to Rice, but how is David Bailiff still the head coach there? This is Rice ... Rice. You know, Northwestern and Wake Forest, but smaller, yet the program was able to grow into something special under Bailiff's tenure. Of course, the team is known for its offense, but it was the defense that dominated early on to let the offense use its variety of trick plays and innovative formations to make what was supposed to be a fun shootout a Rice blowout. Remember, Rice used to be a triple-option team. Players like Chase Clement and Jarett Dillard never thought they'd be used as part of a high-octane passing game, yet they grew into the most prolific pitch-catch combination in D-I history under Bailiff and now-Tulsa head man Todd Graham. Now the trick will be to keep the momentum going without Clement and Dillard. And eventually, maybe in 2010, without Bailiff. - Pete Fiutak

2. Alright MAC, show us why you should ever get a bowl bid ever again. The 2008/2009 bowl season hasn't started out well with Central Michigan losing the equivalent of a home game against Florida Atlantic, Northern Illinois losing the Louisiana Tech, and now, Western Michigan going into the tank against Rice, who hadn't stopped anyone all year ... until now. Western Michigan has never won a bowl game, and neither has Ball State, who's up in a few days against Ball State, and Buffalo is overmatched against Connecticut in the International Bowl. The Broncos were supposed to come into the Texas Bowl and make it a shootout. Instead, the offense couldn't handle the aggressive Rice defense, and the Bronco D that struggled all season long, despite being loaded with experience, wasn't even close early on. The MAC can play, WMU did beat Illinois this year, but the program and the league need to start pulling off bowl wins to get more respect and more national coverage. -
Pete Fiutak

3.
While I expected big things from Chase Clement and the Rice offense, where was this energy and effort from the defense all year? The Owls, among the nation’s worst units throughout the season, came within a few minutes of their first shutout in more than a decade. They flew around the field, batted down balls, and generally had their way with a Western Michigan offense that entered the game No. 10 nationally in passing and averaging 30 points a game. The end result was the program’s first bowl win since the 1953 season and arguably one of the its most complete and profound performances in school history. - Richard Cirminiello      
 
4. When he’s ready, there’s a place in the NFL for Rice receiver James Casey, who had a team-high seven grabs for 112 yards and a touchdown. While just a sophomore in terms of eligibility, and he's considered a tight end, at least in theory, he’s actually a 24-year old former professional baseball player, who has flourished since arriving in Houston. At 6-4 and 235 pounds, he looks like he was built in some H-back factory, complete with great hands, an ability to stretch a defense, and the upper body strength needed to block downfield. A Big 12-type talent in Conference USA, he fell into the Owls’ laps a few years ago, and has been producing ever since. However, with the prospect of a second pro career beginning to loom large, there’s no guarantee he’ll be back on campus again in 2009.
- Richard Cirminiello      

5. Western Michigan might be loaded with experience, but Rice had seniors in the key spots to handle the bowl spotlight better. Jarett Dillard, Chase Clement, the interior of the offensive line, and LB Brian Raines are all seniors, and while most of the team is returning, the veteran core is what made this a special season. Clement is irreplaceable, leading the team in rushing against the Broncos while throwing for 307 yards and three touchdowns, while Dillard close out his tremendous career with yet another big performance, including a touchdown pass to Clement. When in doubt, always take the bowl team with the senior quarterback. Clement showed why, he showed what a great leader can do to elevate everyone around him. -
Pete Fiutak