Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2014

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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GAME PREVIEW: RICE BY DAN MURPHY O n the way to Rice's first Con- ference USA title (and first outright crown in any league since 1957), the Owls' offense gained 5,678 total yards last season. Nearly three quarters of that produc- tion came from the senior backfield duo of quarterback Taylor McHargue and running back Charles Ross, a pair that the team has to replace heading into the 2014 season. Owls head coach David Bailiff worked for the better part of a de- cade to pull his program up from col- lege football's cellar. This season, he and his players will find out if a large and talented graduated senior class left behind enough of a foundation to continue their success. The mood at training camp in Houston remained optimistic that they would be up for the challenge. "It was more upbeat than it's ever been with them coming off a cham- pionship year," said Joseph Duarte, who covers Rice for The Houston Chronicle. "Bailiff has this team where the bar has been raised the last two years." The bar was raised, at least in part, Taking The nexT STep Rice will try to replace an experienced backfield and build on its most success- ful two-year run in the last 50 years Last year, head coach David Bailiff guided Rice to its first outright conference championship since 1957 and equaled a school record with 10 victo- ries. PHOTO COURTESY RICE

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