Southern Miss 40, Rice 22: Mistakes highlight no room for error for Owls

Photo by Darice Farris

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Rice was not favored on the road in Hattiesburg and did not ever come close to striking the upset. Still, the Owls continue to look like a stronger team than the one we saw last year, but haven't made the strides to overcome self-inflicted setbacks.

Overwhelming Mistakes

For the  most part, Shawn Stankavage has done a solid job as the Rice signal-caller. He's found ways to make plays in close games and keep the Owls in the fight. His two interceptions against Southern Miss, though, proved damaging. The Golden Eagles responded to each pick with an ensuing touchdown, effectively creating the margin of victory. In both instances, Southern Miss returns set up quick-strike touchdowns. It's a lot to ask any defense to stop opponents on a short field after a short drive on the bench, but it's especially tough for a team in rebuilding mode. Turnovers are extra costly for programs in Rice's current stage of development. 

Silver Lining Stat

Rice was 7-of-14 on third downs on the night, and is actually up to 41st in the nation in that department. Yeah, it's not outrageously impressive, but it shows the Owls can convert if they put themselves in good positions throughout the game. It's a postiive trend, one worth keeping an eye on.

Up Next

Rice hits the road to take on Wake Forest next week, fresh off the Demon Deacons' handling at the hands of Notre Dame in South Bend. Wake Forest actually has one of the more interesting offenses in the country, and plays aggressive, often quickly going for it on fourth down with ready-made plays to deploy for every situation. This is not the Wake Forest of 3-4 years ago, and will present an especially nasty challenge. 

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