Rice Vs. UCLA: Owls Fall To Bruins 49-24 In Season Opener

The Rice Owls will be missing a few injured players when they start their season on Thursday against UCLA.

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Rice Vs. UCLA Final Score: Bruins Crush Owls 49-24

The Rice Owls could not keep up with the UCLA Bruins offense as they fell 49-24 in their sea on opening game on Thursday night. The first half saw a lot of scoring from both teams as it was 35-24 at the half, but in the second half the Owls offense was shutdown

What really hurt the Owls was their rush defense which allowed UCLA running back Jonathan Franklin to rush for 214 yards and three touchdowns on only 15 carries. For the game UCLA rushed for 343 yards and four touchdowns.

Owls starting quarterback Taylor McHargue did all he could to keep them in the game by rushing for for 95 yards, with a long of 40, plus a touchdown. As for throwing the ball, McHargue completed 17-of-28 passes for 172 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Owls linebacker Cameron Nwosu set a NCAA record as he blocked three extra points in the first half.

For more on Bruins football, go visit UCLA blog Bruins Nation, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and also SB Nation Los Angeles. Also visit SB Nation Houston's coverage for more news on the Owls.

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Rice Linebacker Cameron Nwosu Sets NCAA Record By Blocking 3 Extra Points

This game between the UCLA Bruins and Rice Owls already set a NCAA record when linebacker Cameron Nwosu set a record by blocking three UCLA extra points in the first half, all came against Ka'imi Fairbairn.

Nwosu broke through and blocked Fairbairn's kicks on their first two touchdowns, and then his third and record-breaking block came on the final touchdown of the half. UCLA must have done some adjustments as they have not allowed Nwosu to block a field goal or extra point in the second half.

The previous record was held by multiple players who had two blocked extra points, and the last time a player blocked two extra points was SMU's Margus Hunt who completed the feat last season.

For more on Bruins football, go visit UCLA blog Bruins Nation, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and also SB Nation Los Angeles. Also visit SB Nation Houston's coverage of Rice for news on the Owls.

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Rice Vs. UCLA: Bruins Up 35-24 Over Owls After Wild First Half

Rice couldn't contain the UCLA offense early on the game, allowing a touchdown on the very first play from scrimmage, helping the Bruins to a 35-24 lead over the Owls at halftime. That was only the beginning of a wild first half of play in Texas.

Redshirt freshman Brett Hundley ran for 72 yards and a touchdown in his first ever play from scrimmage with UCLA, giving the Bruins a quick 7-0 lead and putting pressure on the Rice offense from the very start. That pressure didn't work in the Owls' favor, with QB Taylor McHargue throwing a quick interception. Hundley continued his fast start with two straight completions for yet another touchdown.

The pressure continued to mount on Rice's defense as the game progressed, but Rice was able to respond over and over to big UCLA drives. With 3:40 remaining in the game the Bruins had another long scoring play as Johnathan Franklin charged a long way to the end zone -- Franklin has put up 169 yards on only 8 rushes so far with two touchdowns.

The final minutes of the first half provided as many twists and turns as the rest of the game had put together.

Rice scored on a late possession as McHargue tossed one to Sam McGuffie, leaving it up to Rice's defense to keep the game close going into halftime. Cameron Nwuso intercepted a pass by Hundley and it looked like the half might end with Rice in striking distance, but a fumble recovery by Damien Holmes led to a UCLA touchdown. The PAT ended up being blocked -- the third blocked PAT of the half! -- but the Rice returner couldn't quite get to the end zone, ending the half with a 35-24 scoreline in favor of UCLA.

For more on Bruins football, visit UCLA blog Bruins Nation, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and SB Nation Los Angeles. Also visit SB Nation Houston's coverage of Rice for news on the Owls.

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Rice-UCLA By The Matchups: Owls Find Themselves Underdogs In Season Opener

The Rice Owls open the season by hosting the UCLA Bruins on Thursday evening. UCLA is one of two BCS-conference opponents on Rice's schedule, down from four in 2011, giving the Owls hope of breaking their string of three straight losing seasons.

But will Rice open the season with a win? It's within the realm of possibility, but the matchups say it might not be very likely.

Rice offense vs UCLA defense

Rice has one of the least experienced offensive lines in the country, graduating four of five starters a year ago. The good news is that UCLA had an ineffective defensive line a year ago (allowed 5.2 yards per carry, only 14 sacks). The Bruins will also be in their first game switching schemes from the 4-3 to the 3-4.

The Owls have struggled running the ball (under four ypc last three years) and lose their most effective running option in Tyler Smith, but if a returning, healthy Charles Ross can be effective against a UCLA defense that is still learning, it would help immensely to open things up for the Owl passing game. There are lots of intriguing targets for the Owls, is not many proven ones. Vance McDonald returns after leading the team in receiving a year ago, but we're talking about a season in which he caught only 43 passes. Luke Willson and Taylor Cook give the Owls a couple of interesting options at the Tight End position. And Sam McGuffie, newly moved to receiver full-time, is always one to keep an eye on.

Those Rice receivers will be contending with one of the most experienced secondaries in the country, however. If they can make plays on Thursday, it will be a great indicator for the rest of the year.

UCLA offense vs Rice defense

First-year head coach Jim Mora surprised plenty of pundits by tabbing freshman Brett Hundley as the Bruins' starting quarterback over seniors Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut. But given the quality of quarterback play that UCLA has seen in recent years, change may be a good thing. Hundley is a dual-threat quarterback, and the Bruins also have 1,000-yard rusher Jonathan Franklin back. Given the Owls' inexperienced defensive line, they may have to heavily stack the box to stop the run, and try and force Hundley to beat them through the air.

If the game goes that way, keep an eye on big TE Joseph Fauria, a legitimate NFL prospect who had a big game in the city of Houston last year. Nonetheless, the Owls have enough talent in the back seven that UCLA trying to win the game with the pass would certainly play into Rice's favor.

The Bottom Line

It's not difficult to see why the Owls are two-touchdown underdogs, even at home, to the Bruins. UCLA, quite simply, has more depth and talent than Rice does. But that doesn't mean the game is out of reach for the home team. Several things will have to go right: Rice's offensive line will have to gel quickly, the Bruins will have to be struggling to adapt to the new defensive scheme, and Rice will have to come up with some way to stop UCLA's rushing attack, to name a few. But don't count the Owls out.

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UCLA Vs. Rice 2012: Game Time, TV Schedule, Odds And More

The UCLA Bruins open up their 2012 campaign on the road against the Rice Owls on Thursday.

Jim Mora begins his tenure as Bruins' head coach as UCLA looks to improve on last season's 6-8 (5-4 in conference play) overall record, in which it finished the year losing 49-31 to Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship game and falling to Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, 20-14.

The Owls will seek to build on last year as well, when they finished 4-8 overall and 3-5 in Conference USA play. Junior starting quarterback Taylor McHargue (eight touchdown passes and 1,072 pass yards in 2011) as well as big-play running and receiving threat Sam McGuffie (who only scored two total touchdowns last season) will try to ignite a Rice team that averaged 23.3 points per game a season ago.

Game Location: Rice Stadium, Houston, Texas

TV: CBS Sports Network

Game time, TV channel: 7:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network

Point spread: UCLA favored by 15.5

For news, discussion and more:

For more on Bruins football, visit UCLA blog Bruins Nation, plus Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes and SB Nation Los Angeles. Also visit SB Nation Houston's coverage of Rice for news on the Owls.

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Rice Vs. UCLA: Owls Fighting Injuries To Host Bruins

The Rice Owls will be missing a few injured players when they start their season on Thursday against UCLA.

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