It's Football Time in Houston

Owls Kickoff the college season on Saturday

Game #1
What: Rice (0-0, 0-0 CUSA) vs. Prairie View A&M (0-0, 0-0 SWAC)
When: Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018
Time: 6:00 p.m. CT
Where: Houston, Texas
Stadium: Rice Stadium (47,000)
Video Streaming: ESPN+ ($) with David Saltzman (play-by-play), Patrick Creighton (analyst
Local Radio: SportsMap 94.1 FM. JP Heath (play-by-play) and Nate Griffin (analyst), Matt Pedersen (sidelines)  
Audio Streaming: Stretch Internet, Rice Game Day App, TuneIn app
Live Stats:
Series Information: Rice leads 1-0
Game Day Promotions: Craft Beer Festival in TailGate Owley, which opens at 3:00 p.m… Free aluminum water bottles to the first 800 fans (200 students) entering the stadium from Smart Financial… Rice KIDS Zone located behind section 107 opens at 4:30…  
Game Notes
  • Rice opens its 107th season of college football on Saturday night as the Owls usher in the Mike Bloomgren era.
  • This year marks the second straight season Rice will play in "Week 0" after taking on Stanford in Sydney, Australia in the second Sydney Cup.
  • This is the third consecutive year the Owls have kicked off the football season for Conference USA.  They opened things up last year by facing Stanford and in 2016 they shared the honor with Charlotte and WKU by opening on the road against the Hilltoppers.
  • Rice is 56-48-2 in openers in its history, but has dropped eight of the last nine. The Owls last win in a lid lifter was a 56-16 win over Wagner in 2015. Saturday's game will mark just the third time since 2009 the Owls have kicked off a season on their home turf.
  • The Owls are 50-21 when opening a season at home, including a 25-16 mark at Rice Stadium.
  • Rice is 9-9 in the debut games of new coaches. The last coach to win his debut with the Owls was Fred Goldsmith, who fashioned a 35-6 win over SMU in 1989 in his first game with the Owls.
  • Rice defeated Prairie View 65-44 on Homecoming, 2016 in the Owls first meeting with a team from the SWAC.  Rice is slated to face Texas Southern in 2021.
Saturday's game will be the first C-USA game to appear on ESPN's new subscription platform, ESPN+. The game will be produced by Rice Athletics with the state of the art video control center that was one of the many major upgrades for the department when the Brian Patterson Sports Performance Center opened in 2016.
While a number of Owls players and staff will be making their Rice debuts on Saturday, graduate rush end Graysen Schantz will be suiting up to see action in his sixth opening game as an Owl.  He is one of three sixth-year seniors appearing in a sixth consecutive opening game, joining John Wirtel ,a deep snapper at Kansas and Memphis linebacker Jackson Dillon. Schantz made the travel squad and saw action as a true freshman when the Owls opened the year against Heisman winner Johnny Manziel in 2013. He was injured in the game and missed the rest of the year as the Owls won the C-USA Championship. He returned to action in 2014 and was cred­ited with a pair of tackles in the opener at Notre Dame. He was in the starting lineup when Rice hosted Wagner in 2015 and was credited with 5 tackles, 1.5 TFL and blocked a kick, but suffered an injury later in the game and missed the remainder of the year. In 2016, he picked up a tackle in the opener at WKU and last year he was credited with a hurry in the opener vs. Stanford in Australia.
With 2017 starter Sam Glaesmann moving to wide receiver in camp, Rice will have a different starter at quarterback for opener for the fourth consecutive year. Prior to Glaesmann's debut last year vs. Stanford, Tyler Stehling took the first snaps in 2016 after backing up Driphus Jackson for the previous two years. The last time the Owls have had different starting QBs in four consecutive season openers was 2003-06 (Kyle Herm, Greg Henderson, Joel Armstrong and Chase Clement).

Wide receiver Aaron Cephus led in the nation as a freshman in yards per reception while etching his name in the Rice record book. Cephus aver­aged 24.9 yards per reception (25 for 622 yards and five touchdowns). His 622 yards broke the Rice freshman mark of 585 set by James Casey in 2008 while his five TD receptions matched Jarett Dillard's 2005 total. Dillard went on to set the NCAA career record with 60 touchdown receptions. Cephius tied for third national­ly with six receptions of 50 yards or longer, connecting for completions with three different quarterbacks (Sam Glaesmann 3, Miklo Smalls 2, Jackson Tyner 1). His six plays of 50+ yards were the most by an Owl since cumulative stats on long plays were first compiled in 1997. As a team, Rice had eight plays of 50 or more in 2017, the most by the Owls since they finished the 2014 season with 11.

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