Historic third consecutive bowl berth sends Owls to Hawaii


Rice footballDavid Bailiff’s Rice Owls will become the first football team in school history to play in three consecutive bowls when they take on Fresno State in the Hawaii Bowl Dec. 24. The game will be played at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu and broadcast nationally by ESPN.

“This is a great day for Rice football and one that is a great reward for all the hard work that our players and staff have put into this program,” Bailiff said. “I know they are very proud to be the first team to earn a third straight bowl berth, and they have the longest active bowl streak in Conference USA, but they are not going to be satisfied with a bid. We have great respect for Fresno State and the great job that Tim DeRuyter has done with their program. I know our players will be excited at the chance to travel to Hawaii and experience the great atmosphere of the islands, but I have no doubt that our team is also looking forward to the opportunity to end our season on a winning note.”

Tickets for the game will be on sale through the Rice Athletics Ticket office (713-522-OWLS) and online. Owl fans are reminded to order their tickets through Rice to be able to access the school’s block of seats. Information on special ticket packages is available here. For more information, go to the official Hawaii Bowl Central page.

“Today’s a big day for Rice Football,” said Joe Karlgaard, director of Athletics. “It’s our third-straight bowl game, coming off a great season for us. We’re just absolutely thrilled with the invitation to Hawaii, and I think it’s going to be a great experience for our players and our coaches.

“We hope that many of our fans and supporters will be able to make it to the game. We know that our kids have fought hard this year and have overcome some obstacles,” he said. “We’re really happy for them and think they’ll have a great experience. It’s a tough matchup against a team that historically has had some success.”

Rice (7-5) earned the 12th bowl bid in school history by reaching seven wins for the third consecutive season. The Owls have posted a 24-15 record over the past three seasons, their best production over any similar time frame in school history. The Owls’ three-bowl streak is the longest active streak in Conference USA.

The Fresno State Bulldogs (6-7/5-3) will head to Honolulu after dropping a 28-14 decision to Boise State in the Mountain West Championship game. The Bulldogs have also qualified for three consecutive bowls and will be making their second appearance in Honolulu in the last three years.

This will be the seventh meeting between the two schools, with the Bulldogs having won each time. Both schools were members of the Western Athletic Conference during the previous six meetings between 1996 and 2004.

“I’m thrilled for this senior class, thrilled for this football team and everyone associated with this program,” Bailiff said. “So much more goes into winning a football game than what you get to see. It starts with your president and athletic director and your registrar’s office and now for us to win, Housing and Dining is going to have to stay and cook for us — just so much goes into it and so many people are involved. Thanks so much to all of those that help us out as we play a bit longer.

“What a great Christmas present for this football team,” Bailiff said. “We get to play on Dec. 24, and we’ll try to get a win and get home for Christmas.”



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