Sep 29, 2018; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; A Rice Owls helmet sits on the sidelines during the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Dicky Maegle, part of Cotton Bowl infamy, dies at 86

Dicky Maegle was an All-American halfback at Rice and a Pro Bowl player in the NFL, but it’s an infamous play in the 1954 Cotton Bowl that made the highlight reels for the rest of his life.

Maegle, who changed the spelling of his name from Moegle in 1962, died Sunday in Houston. He was 86.

Maegle was on his way to a 95-yard touchdown run against Alabama in the Cotton Bowl when Crimson Tide fullback Tommy Lewis came off the sideline and tackled Maegle after he crossed the 50-yard line. The officials conferred and awarded Maegle the touchdown despite being 40 yards short.

Maegle would finish the 28-6 victory with 265 rushing yards on just 11 carries, a Cotton Bowl record that stood until Missouri’s Tony Temple rushed for 281 yards in 2008.

He was selected No. 10 overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the 1955 NFL Draft. Maegle’s calling card in the NFL was defense. He recorded 20 interceptions his first three seasons, making the Pro Bowl after his rookie season.

Maegle finished with 28 career picks in seven seasons with the 49ers (1955-59), Pittsburgh Steelers (1960) and Dallas Cowboys (1961). He played in 73 games, starting 57.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2020; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Luke McCaffrey (7) in action against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Luke McCaffrey announces transfer to Rice

Luke McCaffrey is on his third school in three years after announcing his transfer to Rice on Monday.

McCaffrey took to social media to announce his decision after leaving Louisville last week.

McCaffrey, the younger brother of Carolina Panthers star Christian McCaffrey, announced that he was leaving the Cornhuskers for Louisville in late February.

As a redshirt freshman in 2020, he played in seven games with two starts for Nebraska. He completed 48 of 76 passes for 466 yards with one touchdown and six interceptions and rushed 65 times for 364 yards and three TDs.

McCaffrey was a four-star prospect in the Class of 2019 and was rated the No. 1 overall prospect in the state of Colorado by the 247Sports composite.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; The Marshall Thundering Herd mascot celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Rice intercepts five passes and shuts out No. 21 Marshall

Naeem Smith scored on a 36-yard interception return to highlight a stellar team defensive effort as visiting Rice blanked No. 21 Marshall 20-0 in a Conference USA clash Saturday in Huntington, W.Va.

Rice (2-2, 2-2 C-USA) played without starting quarterback Mike Collins and leading receiver Austin Trammell due to injuries, but still managed to snag its first road win over a top 25 opponent since Oct. 12, 1991 at No. 8 Baylor.

The Owls notched five interceptions and three sacks and handed the Thundering Herd their first-ever shutout at Edwards Stadium, and first overall since Oct. 14, 2000 at Toledo.

Marshall (7-1, 4-1) had not trailed in the fourth quarter or at the half all season, but quarterback Grant Wells struggled. He completed 18 of 35 passes for 165 yards but five different Rice defenders tallied interceptions. Brenden Knox rushed for 76 yards on 20 carries as Marshall was held to a season-low 245 total yards

JoVoni Johnson completed 10 of 14 passes for 86 yards with no turnovers in his first start of the season for Rice. Ari Broussard (62 yards) and Khalan Griffin (56) combined for 118 rushing yards on 36 carries. Collin Riccitelli added field goals of 39 and 40 yards.

Smith’s pick-six came when he jumped a hot-route read on a blitz. He stepped in front of the quick throw and raced untouched for the score to give Rice a 20-0 lead with 7:50 left in the third quarter. It started a run of three interceptions on four throws for Wells.

Rice led 10-0 at the half to put the upset in play. The Herd, playing for the first time since Nov. 14, had six penalties and two turnovers and four possessions that ended on the Owls’ side of the field in the first two quarters.

Treshawn Chamberlain picked off Wells on Marshall’s second possession, and his 21-yard return set up Rice’s first short-field TD drive. Jordan Myers capped the 10-play march, all runs, with a 1-yard plunge for a 7-0 lead with 1:06 left in the first quarter.

A fake punt, and a Marshall pass interference penalty on the play, kept alive Rice’s second scoring drive. Riccitelli finished off another 10-play drive with his 39-yard field goal with 5:49 left.

Ricciitelli hit his 40-yard field goal with 9:24 left in the third for a 13-0 lead.

Blaze Alldredge, Andrew Bird and Josh Pearcy all added interceptions for Rice, which won for the first time in six tries at Marshall.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2020; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; Marshall Thundering Herd running back Brenden Knox (20) runs the ball and is tackled by Appalachian State Mountaineers defensive back Kaiden Smith (13) during the first quarter at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

No. 21 Marshall set to end layoff, face Rice

No. 21 Marshall looks to play a game for the first time in 21 days when it hosts Rice on Saturday in Conference USA play at Huntington, W.Va.

The Thundering Herd (7-0, 4-0 C-USA) have avoided their own COVID-19 issues but had a Nov. 21 home game postponed due to an outbreak in Charlotte’s program. Marshall had a bye last Saturday.

The Thundering Herd will get no sympathy from Rice, which has played just three games this season.

The Owls (1-2, 1-2) played just once over the past four weeks as games against UTSA (Nov. 7), Louisiana Tech (Nov. 14) and UTEP (Nov. 28) were either postponed or canceled due to the opponents’ COVID-19 issues.

So when Rice coach Mike Bloomgren said late last week there are no COVID-19 issues in his program, you can bet Marshall coach Doc Holliday was elated.

In fact, Holliday gushes over the fact his team has been able to successfully ward off COVID-19 problems.

“We’re proud of that, knock on wood,” Holliday told reporters. “Let’s hope that continues because with what’s going on out there right now, there’s a lot of unknowns. We’ve got to keep doing everything we can possibly do to keep this thing rolling.”

The Thundering Herd have certainly been rolling over opponents as they have won their seven games by an average of 27.3 points. Marshall has topped 40 points on three occasions and held four opponents to 10 or fewer points.

Marshall is averaging 37.4 points per game. Redshirt freshman quarterback Grant Wells heads the charge with 1,674 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Junior running back Brenden Knox has also been superb with 744 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Knox has carried 148 times and been dropped for just 3 yards of losses.

Senior weak-side linebacker Tavante Beckett leads the way on defense with team-high totals of 69 tackles and four forced fumbles. Junior defensive end Darius Hodge has a team-leading six sacks for a unit allowing 10.1 points per game.

Seems like quite a challenge for Rice, but Holliday insists the Owls are better than their record.

“They’ve played everybody tough, to be honest,” Holliday said. “No. 1, they’ve got a bunch of kids that love to play. You watch them play — they play extremely hard.”

Rice lost 27-17 at North Texas on Nov. 21 in its lone contest last month.

Senior quarterback Mike Collins passed for two touchdowns and a season-best 327 yards in the setback.

Perhaps as impressive as the stats was the resilience Collins showed. The transfer from TCU was sacked seven times by the Mean Green but kept getting up without being dismayed.

“We didn’t do a very good job protecting him, and he still wanted the ball in his hands,” Bloomgren said. “He didn’t cower or ask us to call runs. He wanted the ball in his hand, he wanted to win the game, and that’s the mindset of a champion.

“That’s what we want around us. Even when it’s not going well and he’s getting hit, he wanted the ball. We’ve got to get all 22 completely there, to have belief we can do this and trust each other. Then we’ll be fine.”

Collins has thrown for 802 yards, 10 touchdowns and just one interception. His favorite target is senior wideout Austin Trammell, who has 16 receptions for 335 yards and six scores.

Senior weak-side linebacker Blaze Alldredge leads the Owls’ defense with 32 tackles.

Marshall has won five of the seven all-time meetings, including all three at home.

–Field Level Media

Sep 21, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Rice Owls wide receiver Austin Trammell (10) catches a pass out of bounds against the Baylor Bears cornerback Raleigh Texada (13) in the second half at Rice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

UTSA COVID-19 issues lead to postponement vs. Rice

Saturday’s contest between Texas-San Antonio and host Rice was postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the UTSA program, the two Conference USA schools announced Friday.

Officials from both UTSA (4-4, 2-2 C-USA) and Rice (1-1, 1-1) will work with conference officials to reschedule the game.

“We are certainly disappointed that we have had to make the difficult decision to postpone Saturday’s game with Rice,” UTSA athletic director Lisa Campos said in a statement. “Throughout the pandemic, our top priority has been and will continue to be the health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and community.

“We are extremely grateful to the leadership at Rice University and Conference USA for maintaining an open and understanding line of communication, and we look forward to being able to return to competition safely.”

Rice athletic director Joe Karlgaard understood the reasoning for the postponement.

“After a great win last week at Southern Miss, I know our team was excited to get back on the field at home and renew the series with UTSA,” Karlgaard said. “But the virus remains a constant challenge to our efforts to play this season.”

Four of the seven Conference USA games for Saturday have been either postponed or canceled.

The contest between Charlotte and Middle Tennessee also was postponed on Friday. Earlier in the week, the game between Florida International and UTEP was canceled and the matchup between Louisiana Tech and North Texas was postponed.

Earlier this week, Conference USA rescheduled seven postponed games for the time period of Dec. 5-12.

–Field Level Media